We leave you this week with an interesting Boston Globe article from Alex Beam on "the brave new book." "The brave new book" is, of course, the e-book. Sony has just released a new reader that uses "e-ink" technology to mimic the look of a printed page. Is this the future of reading, or is this contraption destined for the junk heap like most of its predecessors? Beam's got his own take:
As it happens, the e-book is the solution to a problem that doesn't exist. Check out my Personalized Literacy Unit, a 2003 release from Bantam Dell labs. It's an $8 paperback called "Persuader" by Lee Child, and it weighs the same as my stripped down cellphone and less than my Palm Pilot ... I've used my PLU on an airplane, in the car, and in a few other places where you wouldn't take electronic equipment.
This, of course, is tongue-in-cheek. But the question remains--is the book already a so-called "perfect technology?" As Beam points out, it's light, portable, and it works. It won't short out when you spill your drink on it, and it won't shatter when you drop it off a four-foot table.
But does this matter? What's going to happen? Will physical books soon become a thing of the past? Find out what the experts think at BookExpoCast, which has archived speeches from this year's BookExpo, including "Embracing New Media and Web 2.0" and John Updike's much-talked-about commentary on the state of publishing today, where he referred to a digitized future as "a grisly scenario."