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Books Versus Ebooks

I have a new article up at Huffpo, On Books & Ebooks:

Among book lovers, there continues to be an prevalent negative feeling about electronic books, or ebooks. The reaction, one I myself have experienced, goes something like this: I enjoy reading books, I enjoy the feel and the tactile feedback, touch, smell, look, books can be marked up and carried around, they never run out of batteries, I can keep them on my bookshelf, they look great, and they are permanent; they are easier on the eyes than screens, and dammit, I just love them. I do not want to read a book in an electronic format. And so I don’t think ebooks will succeed, no matter what Oprah says about the Amazon Kindle.

While I’m sympathetic with that reaction (indeed I feel the same way about paper & ink books), it entirely misses the point of ebooks. Ebooks are not in opposition to print & paper books; they are a parallel tool to get the content contained in a book [more…]


  1. John John 2008-10-30

    Hi Hugh, nice to meet you at the conference. Re: above, I agree that books and e-books are different animals. I think of e-books as metadata for print books. Like metadata, e-books make books more findable on the web, especially if they are full text. Like metadata, e-books provide a shortcut for evaluating a book’s value. Then, if it merits a proper read, I buy or borrow a print copy.

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