2:5:15 Pinhead Books aka e-books

E-books have been hyped as a print revolution, the equal of Gutenberg's in 1439 when his moveable type made possible affordable personal books. No longer were people read to from manuscripts they couldn't own and probably couldn't read. Personal books gave an incentive to learn reading, literacy went up, and ideas were more widely shared.

But for a few reasons, I don't think e-books will register like Gutenberg.

[the thinker on a pinhead]

E-books have a diminished materiality vis a vis paper books.

E-books are just bytes written on the proverbial head of a pin and stored in silicon. Yes, a library of pinhead books fits inside one e-reader's flash memory. They can be digitally copied and sent anywhere in the world in no time. And are cheap to produce--millicents, so to speak!

But pinhead books have drawbacks:

The immateriality of pinhead books means no books on the shelf. So one has to search with the touted functionality to slice and dice the digitized heap any way except . . . the one way--for that particular reader--that's too obvious later. Oh, that book, it's too long. Can we forgive the would-be reader for overlooking amid all the tags, descriptions, and links the book had 942 pages?

With a paper book, we pick it off the shelf and look it over: book cover, flap copy, random pages. A lot of clues all at once. Perhaps we've read something by the well-known writer who gave a blurb on the back cover. Perhaps we find the author photo unsettling. Perhaps we read the first paragraph, deciding, This guy can't write. Perhaps the title and subtitle mislead. Perhaps some wordless feeling comes over us and we think, I've gotta buy this book now.

All of that interaction with a paper book takes seconds--maybe longer--but it's remarkably efficient. We've done this all our lives.

Not so with pinhead books. No matter how easy point-and-click is supposed to be, identifying duds is no snap.

Let me put it this way. My library allows check out of ten e-book titles. I currently have nine and all await automatic return after twenty-one days (Once downloaded, I can't return them sooner). I read and enjoyed, one title. My close associate, ditto. So that's seven titles--once downloaded--I examined closer and found to be non-starters or not worth finishing. That's a sorry record.

So what does one do? Go to the bricks-and-mortar and find a good book, then buy the e-book version and save a few bucks by your cleverness? I think not.

Face it, the paper book--Gutenberg's progeny--is nearly perfect.

Image credit: Google Images @ hobbytalk.com.


Read more ...
(click to enlarge image)

The Cat at Light's End

Read Charlie Dickinson's story collection, The Cat at Light's End, as an ebook in these downloadable formats:

.mobi (Kindle)
.epub (most other readers)
.pdf (for PCs)

Also, a flash fiction, "Ylena Thinks Nyet," is at Cigale Literary Magazine.



more posts

1:15:15 Good Riddance to Old-School Shaving!
12:20:14 Three Whys I Quit Reading a Book
12.12.14 the life-changing magic of tidying up, a book review
11.12.14 Oil Changes
10.29:14 Grapefruit
10.17:14 Doomsday Preppers, a TV series review
9.30:14 The Trigger, a book review
9:10:14 Clipboard People
8:23:14 Ukraine Diaries, a book review
8:21:14 My Home Darkroom on a Shoestring
7:29:14 Right Speech
6:28:14 Pacific Power's Wily Ways
6:20:14 My New Clarks Sandals
5:31:14 Portland's Water Woes, Again
5:10:14 Faster Dial-Up
4:11:14 Update on Stockpiling Light Bulbs
4:10:14 The Next 100 Years, a book review
3:15:14 A Cruel and Shocking Act, a book review
3:8:14 Ukraine: Another Revolution Gone Awry
2:9:14 The Flight (and Fight) of the Hummingbird
1:25:14 My Frugal Byways
1:20:14 Walden on Wheels, a book review
1:2:14 Growing Up Amish: A Memoir, a book review
12:27:13 Micro-Apartments
11:28:13 The Moneyless Man, a book review
11:23:13 The Lost Art of Walking, a book review
11:10:13 The Cultural Revolution Cookbook, a book review
10:23:13 The Biker Angel
10:11:13 No Self-Serve Gas in Oregon
9:28:13 A Street Cat Named Bob, a book review
9:23:13 The Life & Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin, a book review
9:18:13 Autumn Leaves
8:19:13 The Worst Car Driver & Why
8:12:13 The Gardener from Ochakov, a book review
7:25:13 Le Havre by Kaurismaki
7:20:13 This Ain't California
6:27:13 The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking, a book review
5:29:13 My Linux (Mis)Adventures
5:25:13 Southern Cross the Dog, a book review
5:5:13 Russian Tumbleweed
4:16:13 "The Machine Stops" by E. M. Forster
3:26:13 Camera-rama
3:25:13 Moore's Law
3:13:13 Grocery Shopping 
2:28:13 Razor Blade in Moonlight
1:27:13 Made in Russia: Unsung Icons of Soviet Design, a book review
1:6:13 Alleys
12:9:12 White Bread, a book review
12:4:12 Update on Old-School Shaving
11:12:12 Ten Great Buys at Dollar Tree
11:6:12 My New Russian Camera
10:29:12 Leaf Day
10:2:12 The Russian Navy in New York?
9:21:12 The Righteous Mind, a book review
9:14:12 Revolution, 1989, a book review
8:23:12 Train Whistles in the Night
8:2:12 Why I've Stockpiled Light Bulbs
7:22:12 Old-School Shaving
7:16:12 Злектроника МК-52, computer de minimus
7:4:12 Ivan's Childhood by Tarkovsky
6:21:12 The Unabomber, a modern Thoreau?
6:12:12 Do the gods exist?
6:7:12 My "Retail Therapy"
5:28:12 On Taxes, We Should Go Green
5:17:12 Portland's Trash
5:6:12 The Toaster Project, a book review
4:24:12 No Seconds
4:12:12 Portland's Runaway Utility Bill
4:8:12 The Repossession, a book review
3:30:12 How I Got Published in Mississippi Review
3:18:12 Rothko
3:9:12 The End of Money, a book review
3:1:12 gutenberg.org
2:18:12 Beauty Plus Pity, a book review
2:5:12 Kirk's Castile Soap
1:29:12 Confessions of a Fallen Standard-Bearer, a book review
1:22:12 Thirst, a book review
1:17:12 My IBM ThinkPad 1999-2012
1:11:12 String Beans
12:22:11 Spiritual TMJ
12:16:11 1Q84, a book review
12:11:11 How Portland Became Portlandia
12:1:11 The Fixie
11:20:11 Camus' Insight
11:13:11 Old & Worthy
11:7:11 Life Is Tragic
10:31:11 A Matter of Death and Life, a book review
10:25:11 Dead Letter, Email Fatigue
10:18:11 Reinventing Collapse, a book review
10:11:11 Rereading Pirsig
10:1:11 The Sisters Brothers, a book review
9:26:11 The Great Stagnation, a book review
9:16:11 Coffee, The Affordable Luxury
9:12:11 The Genius of Value
9:5:11 Death and the Penguin, a book review