Don’t Fear the E-Reader

Books are evolving, not dying.

When online super-retailer Amazon.com first released its Kindle e-reader in the fall of 2007, David Pogue, the influential New York Times tech columnist, exclaimed that the gadget’s “instant wireless gratification” was “intoxicating.” At The Wall Street Journal, Walt Mossberg proclaimed, “I love the shopping and downloading experience.” Wired named it one of its top 10 devices of the year, calling the Kindle’s E Ink screen “fabulous.”

But for all the hype, the first generation Kindle wasn’t much of a product. It displayed every book in the exact same bland gray font on a screen the color of pea soup. Images, presented in jagged grayscale, were more reminiscent of a monochrome computer monitor from the 1980s than a modern LCD display. The books, locked in a proprietary format, weren’t transferable. The keyboard was awkwardly constructed, making note-taking incredibly frustrating. Advancing to the next digital “page” caused the display to flutter and flicker, as if it were struggling to remember what came next. Some early testers reported that the device would occasionally crash entirely.

And at $400, the Kindle aimed to replace comparatively inexpensive stacks of bound paper with a fragile, expensive piece of hardware. Was it even possible to read it in the bathtub? When The New York Times Magazine posed that question, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos responded that he simply stuffs his reader into a one-gallon Ziploc bag, claiming, implausibly, that “it’s much better than a physical book, because obviously if you put your physical book in a Ziploc bag you can’t turn the pages.”

Fragile, slow-witted, dull-green screens trapped inside Ziploc bags? Skeptics could be forgiven for scratching their heads at the idea, put forth by Steven Levy in a Newsweek cover story, that this somehow represented “the future of reading.” 

Yet the devices flew off the virtual shelves. Amazon was tight-lipped about sales figures, but by May 2008 estimates circulated that Amazon was selling as many as 80,000 of the devices each month. The faster, thinner second generation has proven just as much of a hit, with Slate Editor Jacob Weisberg writing that he believed it offered “a fundamentally better experience” than traditional ink and paper. After ditching its old library, one private academy in Massachusetts decided to install a $500,000 digital learning center—book-free, but with $10,000 worth of Kindles and other e-readers.

Kindles and other e-readers are imperfect devices, but there’s no denying they have touched a consumer nerve. Unlike the iPod, the portable music device to which they are often compared, the e-readers we’ve seen so far aren’t so much a revolution as the proof of concept for one that may eventually happen. The true value of e-readers isn’t what they’re doing now so much as how they’ve opened up the public imagination to rethinking the way we read.

It’s easy to forget, but the printed book is simply another technology, one that represented a superior process and experience than the laboriously copied documents it replaced. Prior to Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press, pages had to be duplicated individually by hand, making any full-length work a highly valued item: A single book could be worth as much as an entire farm or vineyard. In the five centuries since it emerged, the printed text has been the dominant reading tech.

It too was initially imperfect. Elaborate illustrations had to be tossed aside, as did many of the personal flourishes that scribes put on their works. But the advantages of mass production won out and quickly made printed books a fixture of middle-class life. These days it’s a cliché to say that the printed book’s ability to store and transmit information cheaply changed the world. But the cliché is true.

Now an array of e-readers and similar devices are positioned to once again change the way text is stored, transmitted, and read. Don’t like the faded lettering sported by current models? Color E Ink is on the way, and Apple’s recently announced tablet, the iPad, promises a larger, full-color screen designed for reading graphically intense pages such as comic books and glossy magazines. Other manufacturers are promising their own innovations: texts free of copy protection, simpler Web browsing, thinner screens, interfaces designed for technical reading—even flexible hardware. In other words, they’re offering the promise of a world in which e-readers might actually be worthy successors to the book. 

But that’s exactly what has some critics worried. Could digital reading prove a threat to the sacred domain of the printed page? Could books lose their permanence, their authority? Nicholas Carr, a tech-world chin stroker noted for worrying that easy Google searches could make people intellectually lazy, has warned that as books undergo an electronic transition, Internet-supplied text updates will render all writing—and thus all history—“provisional.” If a text can be secretly changed at any time, and scrubbed of embarrassing episodes, will written records remain trustworthy? 

In a Fall 2008 essay for the conservative cultural journal The New Atlantis, Christine Rosen frets that the broader transition to onscreen reading will transform the solitary, focused act of drinking in a text into an act of dominance. “Instead of submitting to an author, you become the master,” she writes. Her worry is that the greater control offered by digital print encourages searching, skimming, and browsing, putting readers —not writers covertly changing their work—in charge.

Both Carr and Rosen are right about one thing: The changeover to digital reading brings challenges and changes, requiring a reconsideration of what books are and what they’re supposed to do. That doesn’t mean the shift won’t be worth it. The change will also bring innovations impossible on Gutenberg’s printed page, from text mixed with multimedia to components that allow readers to interact with the author and fellow consumers.

In an 1815 letter to John Adams, Thomas Jefferson declared, “I cannot live without books.” Who’s to say that 100—or even 50—years from now, another American president won’t say the same about his flexible, lightning fast, always connected, shatter-proof, full-color, endlessly charged e-reader? Maybe he’ll even be able to read it in the bathtub. 

Peter Suderman (peter.suderman@reason.com) is a reason associate editor.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    Vader and Japanese school girls. That's not even surprising.

  • Dedalus||

    Stupid fucking article.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Which one don't you like - "a" or "the"?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    The BakedPenguin gets 100 points for this one.

  • Grandma||

    That's all well and good, Peter, but what happens when the power goes out?

  • ||

    well, "Grandma" you never let me read without turning a light on.

  • Technology Leapfrogger||

    That's why I'm holding out for the development and sale of an e-paper codex, which will require no power to maintain whatever happens to be printed on its pages when the power does go out. Combine that with everything computers can do (which shouldn't be too difficult, computer screens being basically like one page of e-paper), and we'll have something for everyone! The kids will love having a light-weight computer on which they can read their books and play their video games, adults will love having a new PDA that allows them to do even more fun stuff while pretending to take notes at boring business meetings, and the older and more traditional folks like Grandma here will appreciate being able to call up an entire novel on their codex and then read it by flipping the pages the old-fashioned way.

    Best of all, if there's a blackout due to the meddling of evil greentard politicians (such as Barbara Boxer) with our nation's energy sources, you'll still be able to read your wise and resourceful grandmother's e-codex by lamp light, although of course it'll have to be an oil lamp. Maybe if we can combine e-paper with a solar collector and a satellite receiver for transmitting internet stuff directly to the e-codex, the device will be able to operate without any power cord at all. That's way better than either our traditional physical books or these clunky modern electronic text file readers you youngsters are promoting here.

  • Get Off My Lawn||

    text mixed with multimedia to components that allow readers to interact with the author and fellow consumers

    I read books to escape all those distractions. That's why I'll never give up my library. Soon enough most of my volumes will be irreplaceable and viewable only through electronic means. In coming years the purity and integrity of the printed word will be sorely tested with pop-up illustrations, unwanted links, unsolicited reviews and yes, commercials. It will happen as surely as television destroyed the artistic integrity of motion pictures.

  • ||

    +100

  • jack||

    GOML: Do you Frankfurt School much? or am I so drunk that I missed the sarcasm?

  • Technology Leapfrogger||

    Hey, this is the information age, pal! You think we aren't already developing the defenses you'll be using against the book spammers of the future? I've already got AdBlocker and several other such plug-ins on my Mozilla browser for eliminating stuff I don't care to see. These should port pretty easily to anything with internet access, such as your electronic readers.

    If that's not enough for you, these readers will surely be allowed to cut off all internet access to them manually the way we can still do with any of our desktop and laptop computers. To keep horrors like Amazon's creepy and Orwellian "book recall" from happening, hackers will be are already distributing programs to "jailbreak" your reader's operating system, decrypt encrypted document files, and copy them to some kind of open-source-format document file that can then be infinitely redistributed via peer-to-peer networking. Indeed, such book-trading networks are already in existence. (Check the IRC networks for a channel entitled "Bookz" or the like and you'll see this for yourself.) The DRM fascists and their spammer pals shall not prevail against us!

  • skr||

    DON'T PANIC

    I await "The Guide"

  • Mr. Chartreuse||

    I find your lack of sexting disturbing.

  • Technology Leapfrogger||

    If you find the lack disturbing, just wait until you see what the surfeit is like!

  • BakedPenguin||

    Until those who sell e-readers and digital books acknowledge that the lack of physical materials means that the books should be deeply discounted, the format's growth will be somewhat stunted.

    Once publishers get a clue about that, sales of paper books will take a big hit. However, there are certain people who will continue to want paper books, and there are certain books that people will want to buy in paper format.

    I mean, who the hell wants a coffee table e-book of their favorite artists' paintings?

  • ||

    People who have coffee table books are the greatest scum in the universe, worse than even you and NutraSweet combined.

    Does that answer your question?

  • T||

    Eric Kroll took the pictures in my coffee table books, so piss off.

    Wait, I no longer have a coffee table...

  • BakedPenguin||

    Epi, when will you understand that we'll still accept you, Mapplethorpe collections and all?

    And they're still "coffee table" books, even if you keep them under the bed.

  • ||

    Epi just admit your Jock Sturges collection publicly and get it over with.

  • ||

    The coffee table should just be a digital display running a sideshow.

    Two birds.

    But, yes, to your real point. I'd read more digital books if they were cheaper. Charging as much or more in the case of some mass market paperbacks is depressing the market. Even iTunes charges less than the price of physical CD in the case of the vast majority of new music. (The price of back catalog stuff on iTunes is an issue, though.)

  • ||

    Let's do it dude. We'll sell a million of em.

  • ||

    The coffeetable display i mean. We just need to market it as a sort of picture-in-picture replacement.

  • beezle||

    well, in fact you are wrong about the costing of books though your expectations are in the mainstream.

    the dead wood and distribution is not as significant cost in book production as you think - distribution costs do not vanish when done electronically (servers, backups, bandwidth, security, etc).

    SO if by deeply discounted you mean, 20% to the print edition, that may be fair. But if you are expecting 80%, you need to check into the distribution of costs in producting books. And note that text books have other issues as well.

  • Brett L||

    Until the publishers can close some of those book printing factories and fire some the workers, their costs actually increase. One possible solution is to raise the cost of printed books and lower e-book prices, the other is the 'cold-dead hands' approach favored by the RIAA/MPAA.

    Author Charles Stross has been running a number of 'inside baseball' stuff about this on his blog lately. Note that the authors probably aren't in favor of deep discounts as their royalties are based on percentages of sale prices, and markets for written material are not going to explode due to the digitization of the works.

  • ||

    Note that the authors probably aren't in favor of deep discounts as their royalties are based on percentages of sale price

    Renegotiate.

    and markets for written material are not going to explode due to the digitization of the works.

    And we know this for a fact thanks to over 100 years of climate data.

  • Brett L||

    Gee. Why didn't I think of that? Its so simple. We'll just cancel all the contracts that apply to works written or ordered before the release of the iPad. Problem solved.

  • The Man||

    I have, in my own library, books published in the middle of the 19th century and when I want to read one of them I just read it; I don't have to be concerned whether the battery is charged, or that I've got a compatible reader (you know one of those mid 19th century electronic gadgets that all the victorians used to read their "v-texts"). If we didn't already have a plethora of incompatible digital formats and multiple versions of both reader software and reader hardware, maybe I'd feel differently. But we do.

    And BTW when Gutenberg started printing books using movable type, he didn't require his customers to go out and buy another gadget. They used the "new" books in exactly the same way as they used the old ones: they read them; the production method changed not the interface.

    And with regard to the private academy in Massachusetts, if they'd spent the $10,000 on books instead of readers they'd still have them in 10 years. In five years they'll have to buy new readers (unless it's the sort of academy that still listens to 8 track stereo).

    e-readers are a niche, but if you price them low enough everyone will have one (or even two, just in case). Will they replace books in the wider market? Yeah they will, about the same time we have paper free offices.

  • Mike Laursen||

    re: " They used the "new" books in exactly the same way as they used the old ones: they read them; the production method changed not the interface."

    So, you'd like pieces of flexible epaper that you can glue inside your paper book? We can do that! The customer is always right!

  • Technology Leapfrogger||

    So, you'd like pieces of flexible epaper that you can glue inside your paper book? We can do that! The customer is always right!

    Hell yeah!

  • Pope Jimbo||

    I have a lot of dead tree books too. I enjoy them a lot.

    You know what sucks about them? Getting them to Korea for two months while I visit my in-laws.

    You know what is great about the Kindle? It is small enough that I can bring it on my carryon luggage and not worry about running out of things to read while stuck in the countryside outside of Daegu.

    I agree that that lack of standards is annoying. Of course the problem all e-book readers run into is how to deal with copyright issues.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    I have a lot of dead tree books too. I enjoy them a lot.

    You know what sucks about them? Getting them to Korea for two months while I visit my in-laws.

    You know what is great about the Kindle? It is small enough that I can bring it on my carryon luggage and not worry about running out of things to read while stuck in the countryside outside of Daegu.

    I agree that that lack of standards is annoying. Of course the problem all e-book readers run into is how to deal with copyright issues.

  • Jake||

    +1!!

    I'll add to that that on my shelf near to my 19th century volumes I also keep an 8in floppy diskette as an object lesson. I can take +100 yr old book off the shelf and read it like I could the day it was printed. I'm sure some future owner 100 years hence will do the same.

    I doubt I could find, anywhere in 500 miles, a working computer with a working 8in floppy diskette drive (maybe on the PDP11's they use to run the OPG reactors, but I doubt anyone will let me use those on a whim).

    More importantly still, once I buy a book..it's MINE. I can read it, as I bought it, as often as I want, any where I want any time I want and there's not a damn thing the publisher can do about it. I don't have to worry about it being retracted, 'unsold', altered, modified, stamped, filed or numbered every time my reader gets within negotiating distance of a WIFI point.

  • ||

    'nuff said.

  • ||

    I'm not thrilled about multimedia distractions, either, though it could work in some circumstances. And "The Guide" is closer than you might think. Check out this h+ article about the Text 2.0 project for some more information and analysis.

  • Mr. Chartreuse||

    I like my Kindle, but as I have lost the power cord it is now a brick. I still do have an attachment to physical books and walking around Barnes & Noble with overpriced mocha in hand, so I don't think even my Kindle will get me off of having an actual book in my hand. Additionally, after Amazon had that fiasco where they removed a book that shouldn't have been sold from everyone's Kindle, that kinda freaked me out about someone else having control over my library of books.

  • T||

    Right there you hit on why I'm never buying a Kindle. My books are mine, and no pissant in Amazon's legal department is going to decide to yank them out of my house.

  • ||

    You can probably buy a replacement power cord, dude.

  • Mr. Chartreuse||

    I know, I should have disclosed I've been too lazy to get one.

  • Mike Laursen||

    You didn't have to disclose it. It was pretty self-evident.

  • Mr. Chartreuse||

    My laziness moves through the intertubes? Frack, time for some Tony Robbins seminars :)

  • ||

    Are you also unhappy about your car because it quit running after it ran out of gas?

  • Mr. Chartreuse||

    I'm not unhappy*, it's just for lack of battery power my e-reader doesn't work, however the books around me are still functional (unless my glasses break and then I'm in Twilight Zone episode),which is a drawback to e-readers. However, the Kindle does have good battery life though, probably due to the low-tech, but highly readable, screen that Suderman mocks.

    *And I've never run out of gas. Being paranoid about the marker getting close to E will do that.

  • ||

    And yet the lil battery indicator on the kindle doesn't have the same effect?

    It's still the kindle's fault though.

  • Mr. Chartreuse||

    Did I say it was the kindle's fucking fault that I lost the power cord, have been too lazy to replace the power cord and can't charge it? No, but it still doesn't work without power and if there's an extended power outage, which I've gone through for over a week after a nasty windstorm, I'd be able to read jack and shit on it, and jack would have left town.

  • ||

    Now, channel that rage into buying a new power cord and a solar charger.

    As for "books dont need power", i guess you just go outside? That doesn't mean they don't need power, it just means they have solar backup.

  • ||

    And dont even suggest reading by candlelight. I'll have the EPA's carbon policing division on your ass faster than Obama on a white woman.

  • Mr. Chartreuse||

    Ok, shit, that was funny. My rage will be channeled, wylie :).

  • ||

    WastingtonDC:
    Publishing physical content is a failed business model! That said, and gotten out of the way, we move on, to repeating the mantra that I fervently hope will convince Sir Rupert Murdoch to destroy the failed business model of physical publishing, as he is destroying the failed business model of network television, at least in the soul destroying bundled butchery form in which it is practiced, in America.

    Google, PayPal, and Sir Rupert must now agree to formulate and execute my Lomax two cent solution, to the multibillion dollar problem that is destroying the Lame Stream Media in particular, and the physical publishing industry, in general. Consumers of content must be enabled to pay their two cents for each article, and twenty five cents, for each book, they choose to read, directly to the producer of their chosen content, with none of the collected millions of pennies paid to read the perfection of Charles Krauthammer’s 800 word article diverted to paying for union employees destroying trees, or hauling them to mill, press, newsstand, home and then our landfills. The same goes for the world’s books also made available in my oft suggested Google’s Global Free Library, at no cost whatever, for all the children who will never see more than a few printed books, and presented for pay, on a trust but verify honor system, for those folks who have the where withal necessary to click on the author’s payment line, after the standard teaser allowance, or where ever the best authors choose to put their pay me now, click to read on, line.

    Billions of readers of a dozen or a few online media outlets daily, are ready to put a PayPal Googler’s $100, or more, as necessary, for the float to allow Google to maintain their Free Library, the day their geeks get the “how to do it securely” bits worked out.

    Sir Rupert must strike, again, to make another bold step change to an industry, as with Fox and the WSJ, albeit it means the immediate destruction of billions of dollars of his family owned monopoly infrastructure. Since that union driven waste of resources was devised, back in the day, for controlling writers, artists, and their fans, or herding cats, if you will, and is doomed to extinction in any event, being the first adapter is sure to save and make Sir Rupert’s family more money, in the long run.

    We want to pay our writers directly, with the free market shaping the systems that deliver us content, and we will not abide any approach that limits the anarchy apparent in Sir Rupert Murdoch’s Market Watch commentary approach. That is: with 5000 characters allowed per comment, with it all archived to embarrass either writers or their detractors, non-censored, and only mildly refereed. Basically it is bare knuckle combat, politely stated, and encouraged as commentary.

    Fair and balanced, open commentary began, and has been refined, in Market Watch. It has been increasingly emulated, albeit poorly executed in some outlets. I have repeatedly called for this free for all approach, in NYT, and throughout the industry, by media outlets hoping for any sort of survival, in any form.

    Producers refusing to allow Google to provide their content free, to all the world's poorest oppressed peoples, can allow themselves to be chosen, or forced to kiss physical publisher's rings, and respect their bias, whilst paying their unions to destroy the planets lungs. The rest of us will gladly join the schools recently giving away their physical collections, and await paying a professor/text author, .25 for a year's use of his newest book, eagerly sought after, if it's any good. Of course, those less useful will find no place on our go anywhere net books, with reader apps, as appropriate. Why would I buy both a reader and a laptop, PC, netbook? More importantly for the vendors, why would I buy a cell phone, or other personal device, when my one go anywhere small computer does it all. It appears that Sir Rupert's satellite system approaches, coupled with Google Free World Library would encompass all the world's content, within a decade.

  • The Man||

    You should really go back on your meds.

  • T||

    tl;dr

  • ||

    Kindle/DX...$495

    ebooks for Kindle...$0 to $10

    Reading on the treadmill with push button page turning and without my glasses...priceless.

  • ||

    I kinda feel like you have to include the cost of the treadmill.

  • ||

    (to be a proper mastercard commercial i mean)

  • ||

    And of course E Readers have the added bonus of allowing the government to quickly and cheaply search your books for prohibited content.

    http://boingboing.net/2008/05/28/canadian-border-guar.html

  • AJs||

    I love my Kindle. For someone who is an avid reader and rides the commuter bus about 45 minutes to work, it's much nicer to have the Kindle to read on the bus for many reasons... one is simply that when you finish a book, you can just get a new one. Same for travelling/vacationing - much nicer to have/pack one Kindle than 6 books (especially on the plane). Unless there is some future technology that I cannot imagine, it will never replace text books or other study material. The ability to earmark, highlight, write notes and then mentally know about where in the book to thumb to to find those notes cannot be duplicated (yet anyway).

    The biggest gripe I have right now is the lack of ability to share the books... it would be great for them to have some sort of system where you could loan books to someones elses Kindle for a couple of days then have it returned to you, etc.

  • ||

    When you buy a Kindle all of your bases belong to big publishing. Who are you to think you should be able to loan your property to other people?

  • Technology Leapfrogger||

    That's why the Kindle is as good as outdated already. Anybody who comes up with a working and relatively inexpensive reader for common and purely non-proprietary document files is going to make a killing in the market with the anti-DRM crowd.

    (I've got a cheap device made in China that can read plain TXT files already, but it only allows for fixed-spacing ANSI-encoded text with 32 characters to a line so far.)

  • ||

    Swap kindles? That could be more fun anyway.

    Unless there is some future technology that I cannot imagine, it will never replace text books or other study material. The ability to earmark, highlight, write notes and then mentally know about where in the book to thumb to to find those notes cannot be duplicated (yet anyway).

    If only there were some sort of markup language that could allow such a thing....

  • AJs||

    Hrm... I will pass on allowing anyone to borrow my Kindle (and giving up access to my entire collection during that time). I would rather pay $10 for the book.

    You can earmark pages and make notes in the Kindle that I have. It is however not the same as having a text book and knowing approximately about where something is then thumbing through pages quickly while studying. As everything else, the technology will improve and I am sure it will get there someday... then again I am still waiting for my person jetpack that I saw on the Jetsons and figured I would be using by now...

  • ||

    I'm perfectly fine with the book industry making all these digital works available for mass book piracy, like with music. But I'm not giving up my books in favor of an electronic reader. I can do both, but not at the expense of my library.

  • Technology Leapfrogger||

    Whether it makes them available or not, they'll be available soon enough. You can already find a copy of virtually every popular book and a great many less popular ones available for download as a document file somewhere online.

  • ed||

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  • ||

    Ye gods.

  • ||

    frightening.

  • ed||

    Chapter 2 - The Carpet-Bag

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  • ||

    Then the search algorythims kick in:
    Moby Dick, DICK = Viagra, Hustler, etc

  • ||

    Or they start doing product placement:

    “Men, this gold is mine, for I earned it; but I shall let it abide here till the White Whale Special® is eaten by all ; and then, whosoever of ye first praises it, upon that day the meal shall be discounted, this gold is that man’s; and if on that day I shall again feed him, then, ten times its sum in coupons shall be divided among all of ye! Away now! the booth is thine, sir!”

  • ||

    Starbuck: It's late; you should turn in.

    Captain Ahab: Sleep? That bed is a coffin, and those are winding sheets. I do not sleep, I die.

    Starbuck: At the touch of a button, our handheld remote allows you to adjust the bed’s firmness to the precise level of comfort and support you prefer. Independent clinical research shows that 87% of those who slept on a SLEEP NUMBER® bed experienced more restorative REM sleep with fewer sleep disturbances. Read More Details

  • ed||

    (giggles)

  • ||

    EVEN Capt. Ahab? I'd think he'd already be a seafood fan, and so not too hard too please.

  • Red Lobster Copywriting Dept.||

    Thank you for taking the time to comment on Melville's classic Moby Dick, sponsored by Red Lobster and Lobsterfest®!

  • Technology Leapfrogger||

    Dave Chappelle: "Spam Busters, b****!"

  • BakedPenguin||

    Also, the headline of this post needs more cowbell.

  • ||

    Kindle. Cowbell. Kindle. hmmmm....close but no cigar.

  • BakedPenguin||

    wylie, think back to the song in the SNL skit, if you've ever seen it.

  • FrankL||

    Speaking of planes, the Delta flight I was on made everyone turn their e-readers off until we were above 10,000 feet. While we waited on the taxiway, I could read my old fashioned papaperback while the Kindle owners stewed.

  • AJs||

    Now that is just moronic.

    And by moronic, I am referring to flying Delta.

  • FrankL||

    Fortress Hubs are just wonderful.

  • engineer||

    The FAA requires each airline to prove that any portable electronic device that is operated below 10,000 feet will not effect the operation of the airborne equipment. All the airlines satisfy this rule by requiring all portable electronic devices be turned of. All means all.

  • ||

    Has the New Hampshire board of Barbers, Cosmotolgy and Assholes rendered its' approval?

  • ||

    http://hotair.com/archives/201.....-powerful/

    Anyone else see this? And just think what these clowns will do with healthcare.

  • timo||

    i bought my wife a kindle for Christmas and she loves it. One surprising by-product is that we are reading more often and more widely than before. The format and plethora of free books and sample chapters have me checking out titles I would never have paid $19.95 for. I have a deep attachment to the paper books of my library (in the neighborhood of 2500 books) and I still buy certain titles in print if the price is right. I don't think of it as e-reader vs traditional books,at best it's not either/or but both/and! At very least the difference is more paperback vs. vellum

  • Nelson||

    Ha ha! You paid money for zeroes and ones!

  • Principal Skinner||

    Nelson!

  • Nelson||

    But he did...!

  • Principal Skinner||

    There's being right, and there's being nice.

  • ||

    There are other readers than a kindle. I bought a JetBook from Ectaco last year and I love it. I get free books from the Gutenberg project and load them up on the 2GB flash card. It's great.

  • abercrombie london||

    good .thangkd

  • Derp||

    CTRL+F for "DRM" - no results found.

    Oh I'm sorry, but the article didn't go over the most significant problem with E-Readers.

    When Amazon guarantees they won't be indian-givers with any particular e-book, I'll consider a Kindle, maybe.

    And I don't care if that e-book had unforeseen copyright legal issues -- you don't force-recall paper books out of peoples' houses when it happens for those, you shouldn't do it with e-books.

  • ||

    after years of spending 50+ dollars a month at amazon for books, i broke down january and bought one of those sony pocket readers (90bux after redeeming my 'sony points'), needless to say i've been reading 3x as many books for free(gutenberg + google) and paid back the cost of the device 4x over, the thing holds a charge for a week and takes about 45 minutes to fully charge, at this moment i have 200+ books on it and can carry it in my pocket, anyone who thinks e-readers are a bad thing is seriously retarded or doesn't read much to start with.

  • Sara||

    I can't afford to spend $10 on a book, which is why I am active on paperbackswap.com, as is my mother. Until ebooks are as inexpensive as this method, I won't be using an ereader.

  • Andrew the Noisy||

    I don' think the two are mutually exclusive. I mean, I have an iPod, but I still by vinyl records. As convenient as digital music is, nothing quite sounds like vinyl on my stereo. I've been kind of anti-Kindle in the past, but am now prepared to integrate it. Doesn't mean I'd ever give up my library. There's nothing quite like the tacticity of a book.

  • Maria E. Schneider||

    As a reader, I've always been in charge -- my imagination is filling in details not specified by the writer. If a writer goes where I don't want to, I put the book down. Sometimes, the writer goes where I don't expect--and what a ride! I'm not likely to be "rewriting" or "recreating" anything in my head or otherwise.

    As a writer? It spells opportunity. I worry less about the downside and celebrate the upside.

    Maria

  • R. T.||

    Well, I don't fear the damn things, I simply do not like them. My curmudgeonly disposition clings to the print and paper versions. So, the 21st century can keep the e-texts while I stubbornly hold on to Gutenberg's progeny.

  • abercrombie london||

    thomas saboMany years after receiving my graduate degree, I returned to the State University of New York at Binghamton as a faculty member. One day in a crowded elevator, someone remarked on its inefficiency. I said the elevators had not changed in the 20 years since I began there as a student.
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  • abercrombie milano||

    My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I'm sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won't get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there's more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I'm not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It's just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight...the Bible's books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on...the Bible's books were written by people with very different mindsets...in order to really get the Books of the Bible, you have to cultivate such a mindset, it's literally a labyrinth, that's no joke.

  • abercrombie and fitch uk||

    Even if you go on his website, it's still just a a ten minute discussion. The interview with Jim Cramer simply amounted to Jim sputtering something every couple of minutes while John wagged his finger at him the whole time. I've never seen him have an intelligent discussion with anybody, and he only talks to people that he knows he can bully into a corner. Usually idiots, yes, but it's still dispicable. I don't watch him that often, but it is people like him that make me wretch. The fact that people go around saying "He slammed so and so" in that "debate" pisses me off. John's not directly responsible for that, but he certainly plays his audience to get that effect.

  • abercrombie fitch uk||

    Well said. Tucker is despicable, Crossfire became despicable (despite the presence of supposed "heavyweights" like Novack and Carville), and Jon Stewart is a comedian who has never proclaimed himself to be anything else. Just because certain people here don't understand how satire works doesn't change that fact. The fact that The Daily Show has gained some cultural traction doesn't change that.

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  • Aktie||

    Great article and I like the last line a lot as it summarizes the current problem of the technology:
    'Maybe he’ll even be able to read it in the bathtub.'

    I like to read a book in bed (OK for e-readers), on the beach (puh, too much sun, so a problem with the screen) or in the bathtub (water and an electronic device - that should not get wet or it will be broken).

    I agree that there are huge opportunities for the e-readers, but there is still a long way to go. Looking at the development of cars or telecommunication we can see very clearly, how things can change of decades.

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