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The Future Is Digital?

March 24, 2010


I’m reading this article about ‘print being king, but the future is digital’. I may agree that the future may be filled with more digital works than printed, but is that necessarily a good thing? I’m not so sure, as with anything there are always pros and cons and the pros of digital (or one of them) is the ease of access and storage. That’s all well and good, but the con is that a digital product can be edited so easily that you can never be too sure what you’re reading is, in fact, the same thing you read yesterday. The ease of accessing this info is that it’s also easily edited and changed and altered. For further proof of this go here: link and type in your favorite website and see how many iterations it has.

You can make the case that caching websites and that PDF files aren’t easily editable and to an extent that’s the case, but if you have Adobe Acrobat then you’re well on your way to editing an entire book. For the caching, that’s true, it helps keep things ‘honest’ for the most part. But that’s only a ‘snapshot’ of how it looked on a certain date. That’s great, however, it’s not foolproof.

There’s that coupled with the fact that it’s just unseemly to read something on a phone or eReader like the iPad. I hear the Kindle is different, but I haven’t had first-hand experience with reading anything on that. Granted that’s also the case with the iPad, but that’s a giant iPhone with an LCD screen. And if you’ve ever used a smartphone or anything similar then you’d know reading large volumes of text isn’t so easy on the eyes (shut up, Charles :p). My other complaint about eReaders and the like is that there’s no physical copy and that may be fine to some people…until they take away your purchased copy (link) as was done with the Kindle and 1984.

Amazon’s reasoning for it was mostly sound: it was illegally uploaded. I don’t think that justifies taking away people who bought it, though. That’s a rather scary prospect to people who treasure what they read that it can so easily be snatched away on a whim, right or not. If you’re a lit geek or an aspiring lit geek like me then not having a physical copy of a book is almost an unimaginable, downright scary prospect.

I don’t think eReading will ever have the appeal that some people want it to have and I think a lot of folks are overestimating that right now as it’s ‘new’, but I think the drawbacks will make it a limited thing, indeed. Of course that’s what a lot of people said about the internet, however, there’s no replacement for a good book to read. Even if you can acquire it through a website. That’s not to say that digital reading has no place–it does, I think it’ll just be limited in scope, but that’s just my opinion.

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