"Maybe books won’t survive the transition to digital devices, any more than scrolls survived the transition to movable type… what the internet portends is not the end of the paper container of the book, but rather the way paper organized our assumptions about writing altogether."
- Clay Shirky | Is the book a crucial cultural artifact, or just an outdated container for content?
"We may be discovering that e-books are well suited to some types of books (like genre fiction) but not well suited to other types (like nonfiction and literary fiction)… the e-book may turn out to be more a complement to the printed book, as audiobooks have long been."
- Nicholas Carr | Is the book a crucial cultural artifact, or just an outdated container for content?
America’s first bookless public library will look ‘like an Apple Store’
Bexar County, Texas says that it will open the first 100 percent digital public library system in the country, unveiling plans for its first location this past week. The plan has been in the works for a while, headed up by Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, who says he was inspired to create a digitally native library while reading Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs.
» via thisistheverge
So we know that the average worker spends 13 hours a week — 28 percent of office time — on email. Which multiplies out to (eek) 650 hours a year.
But what does that time investment look like as physical — well, “physical” — output? How does it amass as words typed and sent and otherwise generated? Here’s one estimate: 41,638 words.
To put those 41,638 discrete pieces of communication in perspective, that word count, in the aggregate, is roughly equivalent to a novel that is 166 pages in length…. slightly greater than The Old Man and the Sea (127 pages long), slightly less than The Great Gatsby (182 pages), and just about equal to The Turn of the Screw (165 pages).
"Clay Shirky argues that technologies get interesting only when they’re widespread enough to become boring. In 2012, in the best way possible, e-readers became incredibly, fantastically boring. Though the year found marginal improvements to e-reader technologies, it also saw a significant reversal in the relationship between humans and the written words we use to help express our humanity: In 2012, we read books, but our books also read us. Teachers used e-readers to catch would-be cheaters among their students. Books on screens promised new frontiers of interactivity between textbooks and teaching. They transformed Shakespeare’s plays from public performances to intimate ones. We went, with our books, back to the future, rediscovering in digital texts what has always made books agents of culture and, generally, awesome: their implicit community, their fundamental sociability, their ability to capture and convene. This year, we began to learn what it will mean to have books and readers that are reciprocal. We began to understand an old insight in a new way: We shape our books, and then our books shape us."
- The Year in Tech, 2012: Reading
"Travel is like a good, challenging book: it demands presentness—the ability to live completely in the moment, absorbed in the words or vision of reality before you. And like serious reading itself, travel has become an act of resistance against the distractions of the electronic age, and against all the worries that weigh us down, thanks to that age."
- Being There - The Atlantic
"It takes the average reader just seven hours to read the final book in Suzanne Collins’s “Hunger Games” trilogy on the Kobo e-reader—about 57 pages an hour. Nearly 18,000 Kindle readers have highlighted the same line from the second book in the series: “Because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them."
- Your E-Book Is Reading You - WSJ.com (via rickwebb)
"It was only later that I realized the value of being bored was actually pretty high. Being bored is a kind of diagnostic for the gap between what you might be interested in and your current environment. But now it is an act of significant discipline to say, “I’m going to stare out the window. I’m going to schedule some time to stare out the window.” The endless gratification offered up by our devices means that the experience of reading in particular now becomes something we have to choose to do."
- Clay Shirky - How Will We Read (via bijan)
"Despite e-reading platforms’ emphasis on the social capabilities of pixellated consumption — collaborative marginalia, the ability to broadcast what you’re reading to your friends on Facebook, the belief that, overall, there’s a community in every book — it seems that, for the vast majority of Americans, sharing is still very much an analog thing. Pew’s findings are a nice reminder that books’ dynamism comes from the people who share the books, rather than the platforms that help with the sharing."
- Per the Latest Pew Study, the Most Social Way to Read Is Still in Print
Per the Latest Pew Study, the Most Social Way to Read Is Still in Print
While people prefer the e-book format for individual reading experiences — reading while commuting, getting quick access to a book they want to read, etc. — they prefer print books for more social activities like reading to kids and sharing books with friends.
Recent years have seen a sharp decline: The 1990 edition sold 120,000 editions in the United States — the most ever — but the 2010 edition sold just 8,000. Four thousand copies are still in a warehouse, waiting for owners. Today, the printed encyclopedia accounts for less than 1% of the company’s revenues.
“What if you could re-define books’ value proposition? What if book-buying became less about one-off salesmanship, and more about ongoing membership? What if you didn’t buy books so much as join them?”
My hesitation with ebooks is the price. For what they cost, I want something physical in return. This subscription model would be an appealing compromise.