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Friday, August 03, 2007

"What is this obsession people have with books?"

As I go through another round of edits on Post, not only do I wonder when this will come out, but how it will come out. Moreover, I wonder if there will ever be a time when the books we read will be via the Internet. Akin to how we listen to music with MP3s, get news from websites and read about bands via blogs, I wonder if books will be next. I highly doubt it's going to happen in the near future, but consider the question: would you really want to read a novel on your computer?

Books are portable and can be read anywhere at any time. Unlike an MP3 or CD player blaring music, you don't worry if reading a book is bugging someone next to you on a train. (That is, unless you're reading aloud.) Plus, there haven't been any advancements in making a book completely available online and compatible with something like an iPod.

There's something inherent with surfing the Internet: it's hard to stare at something for very long. As much as I appreciate well written articles, blog posts, reviews, etc., I rarely read a multi-paragraph write-up at first glance. So asking me to read a whole book online is a test of extreme patience.

I remember attempting to read Billy Corgan's memoir, The Confessions of Billy Corgan, on his website (currently found here along with other things). Shortly into it, I had to stop. There was nothing wrong with his writing style, but I just didn't have the patience to sit at my computer and read a whole chapter. (I should also add that I was not really that interested to know about the first time he saw his grandmother naked.)

As easy as it would be to throw my current draft of Post up on a website, I think that would be a cheat/retreat in the long run. It would be like serving lasagna after only ten minutes in the oven. Though it may seem like it's been in the works long enough, there are a lot of things at work that say to hold off and wait to publish this in print form.

What do you think? Would you ever consider reading a book on your computer?

3 comments:

Ryan said...

I have actually bought e-books before. Once they are able to infuse them on a portable device like an iphone, regular books will be in trouble(i'd say give it 5 years). I like the idea because it will use less resources(trees, cardboard, and gas for distribution). Plus the screens would be backlit, so you wouldn't need a booklight. You would probably be able to make the text larger, which could really win over older folks.

Anonymous Mom said...

no way... i feel the same way you do. i have a much harder time paying attention to anything i read online than i do with an actual book in my hands... that i can read laying down (i never ever read sitting up), that i can fold the corner of the page where i left off (i know, sacrilege).

damn, i love books.

Random Kath said...

Books don't run out of power, either . . . the best thing about books to me is that they are non-electronic.

No I couldn't read a book on a screen, I just can't get into reading things of length on the screen - I always have to print out longer articles.

I also like being able to throw a book into my purse and take it anywear and mark up books with pencil notes. I like holding books in my hand and turning pages. I guess I'm pretty old school too - I wonder if it depends how much of an electronc adapter you are. I'm still quite a "digital immigrant," so I only like electronic do-dads if they improve my experience, and for books it's a non-starter for me.