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Don't Burn Your Books—Print Is Here to Stay
WSJ ^ | 1/7/13 | NICHOLAS CARR

Posted on 01/07/2013 11:56:03 AM PST by Borges

Lovers of ink and paper, take heart. Reports of the death of the printed book may be exaggerated.

Ever since Amazon introduced its popular Kindle e-reader five years ago, pundits have assumed that the future of book publishing is digital. Opinions about the speed of the shift from page to screen have varied. But the consensus has been that digitization, having had its way with music and photographs and maps, would in due course have its way with books as well. By 2015, one media maven predicted a few years back, traditional books would be gone.

Half a decade into the e-book revolution, though, the prognosis for traditional books is suddenly looking brighter. Hardcover books are displaying surprising resiliency. The growth in e-book sales is slowing markedly. And purchases of e-readers are actually shrinking, as consumers opt instead for multipurpose tablets. It may be that e-books, rather than replacing printed books, will ultimately serve a role more like that of audio books—a complement to traditional reading, not a substitute.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: books; pages

1 posted on 01/07/2013 11:56:08 AM PST by Borges
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To: Borges
I love reading.

And though I love reading things on FR, when it comes to books and mags, give me the real thing.

2 posted on 01/07/2013 12:00:10 PM PST by mountn man (ATTITUDE- The Pleasure You Get From Life, Is Equal To The Attitude You Put Into It.)
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To: Borges
I love my e-reader.

But I love my hard copies better.

I do a lot of cross-referencing back into a book I currently read...not so much for novels but for non-fiction. I will never find this convenient with an e-reader.

However, I DO LOVE my e-reader for light reading, travel, and to have in my bag whenever I have a few minutes on a park bench to fill.

3 posted on 01/07/2013 12:01:16 PM PST by what's up
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To: Borges
One other reason may have to do with an issue that is rearing it's legal head lately : who owns the media (iTunes/music, photographs, voice mail, eBooks etc) purchased on-line when the purchaser dies?

The present argument is that the buyer is only getting a license and that is not transferable to the estate. Ditto for if you store your photo's in some “cloud” server.

Like all the adverts for gold - nothing beats tangible assets.

4 posted on 01/07/2013 12:02:35 PM PST by llevrok (ObamaLand - Where young people go to retire.)
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To: mountn man

I know I read differently on the computer than I do when I read a book.

My bottom shelf basic kindle is a great alternative.


5 posted on 01/07/2013 12:03:58 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: Borges

I like being able to download books for free. I also like having a solution to the eternal problem of adequate lighting. However, I get sick of staring at screens all the time.

Also, why would you burn existing books? That’s just a stupid headline.


6 posted on 01/07/2013 12:05:55 PM PST by Tublecane
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To: Borges

The reason books are better than e-books is because of bookstores. Here’s an experiment any reader can do: when you’re having a bad day go to a bookstore, on another bad day click on Amazon. There’s nothing like the feeling of walking into a bookstore, except maybe walking into a liquor store, just going in feels good. Amazon and other sources of e-books might be more convenient and cheaper, but they’ll never give you that high. I work across the street from a Barnes & Noble, it’s my primary work day stress relief.


7 posted on 01/07/2013 12:07:21 PM PST by discostu (I recommend a fifth of Jack and a bottle of Prozac)
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To: Borges; All

Does anyone have a best recommendation for a basic cheap e-reader for borrowing library books?


8 posted on 01/07/2013 12:08:46 PM PST by donna (Pray for revival.)
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To: Borges

My experience is that e-books work best for books you intend to read straight through from beginning to end, like a novel. Reference books and non-ficton books you know you will be referring to from time to time in the future don’t work so well and are better purchased as a traditional book.


9 posted on 01/07/2013 12:10:48 PM PST by circlecity
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To: llevrok

One other reason may have to do with an issue that is rearing it’s legal head lately : who owns the media (iTunes/music, photographs, voice mail, eBooks etc) purchased on-line when the purchaser dies?

That is SO true. I have movies on Amazon Instant Video that I purchased and do wonder who will have these movies when not only I do but my wife as well. Will my children fight over them? Will my account be voided? Do I have to put this in the will? I know this seems simple at this point, but as electronic video libraries become more than a small amount of movies, books, music and suddenly becomes “money”...what happens????


10 posted on 01/07/2013 12:13:45 PM PST by napscoordinator (GOP Candidate 2020 - "Bloomberg 2020 - We vote for whatever crap the GOP puts in front of us.")
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To: Borges
I love the smell of books, whether it's the ink and binding glue smell of a brand new book, or the musty, leathery smell of an ancient tome, I simply engage better with a real object.

I've read studies that indicate folks of my generation and older who were raised with books (personal desktops were just starting to come into widespread use during my college years), retain far more information when read off a printed page than we do reading of a monitor screen. That trend seems to be inverting itself with younger generations, as one might expect.

11 posted on 01/07/2013 12:14:08 PM PST by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: napscoordinator; llevrok

Why not just leave the password and access info to the relevant next of kin?


12 posted on 01/07/2013 12:22:36 PM PST by Borges
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To: Borges

From my cold, dead ink smudged hands.


13 posted on 01/07/2013 12:23:21 PM PST by CrazyIvan (Obama's birth certificate was found stapled to Soros's receipt.)
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To: Borges

Print books cannot be deleted off my machine or updated to a more PC edition regardless of what I want. I can by a politically incorrect print edition and give it away anonymously - files are tracked.


14 posted on 01/07/2013 12:24:57 PM PST by tbw2
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To: Borges; All
Fahrenheit 451 .. one of the best sci-fi's ever written.

Ray Bradbury poses the scenereo; All books are banned and the threat of losing knowledge becomes real.

People adept at memorizing, memorize passages or all of the classics and live in the forest, reciting what they know/remember.


Fast foeward to now ... and we are made aware of the re-writing of history and if no one remembers or keeps a copy or record of the original, in time we lose the past, no longer able to refence the past, ...

too horrible to imaging.

15 posted on 01/07/2013 12:42:55 PM PST by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: Borges

16 posted on 01/07/2013 12:47:52 PM PST by al_c (http://www.blowoutcongress.com)
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To: circlecity
Reference books and non-ficton books you know you will be referring to from time to time in the future don’t work so well and are better purchased as a traditional book.

Disagree. The search functionality and realtime updates of books and PDFs make reference books more suited for eReaders than any other type of publication except maybe periodicals.

That is why lawyersgo to Lexis and Westlaw before hard copy. That is why the publishers of the OED and the Brittanica are discontinuing print editions.
17 posted on 01/07/2013 12:52:13 PM PST by Dr. Sivana ("C'est la vie" say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell. -- Chuck Berry)
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To: knarf

if you had to memorize a book, which would it be? i like to ask this question on Facebook every year on the anniversary of Ray Bradbury’s birthday...


18 posted on 01/07/2013 12:52:36 PM PST by latina4dubya ( self-proclaimed tequila snob)
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To: Tublecane
Also, why would you burn existing books? That’s just a stupid headline.

i agree! no reason to burn existing books just because the trend is electronic... btw--i love my Nook, but i also love my hardcovers and even paperbacks...

19 posted on 01/07/2013 1:00:38 PM PST by latina4dubya ( self-proclaimed tequila snob)
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To: latina4dubya

With no hesitation, KJV of the Bible.


20 posted on 01/07/2013 1:01:15 PM PST by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: latina4dubya

Something by Roger Zelazny. I’m tempted to go for Nine Prices of Amber, but then I need people to memorize the rest of the series. Probably everybody wants to memorize Lord of Light. So I’d probably go for Damnation Alley, might be considered a lesser work, but I’ve always been fond of it.


21 posted on 01/07/2013 1:08:50 PM PST by discostu (I recommend a fifth of Jack and a bottle of Prozac)
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To: Borges

I often utilize Low-Power Persistent Papyrus High-Resolution Display versions of books, and also often use an e-reader.


22 posted on 01/07/2013 1:11:20 PM PST by RFEngineer
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To: Borges

Ah, books!
No battery is required.
No software that continually updates automatically, or has a big blinkie reminding you of such, with cost.
You can always put a REAL bookmark in a place, close the cover, and come back later, open the cover, and not wait for the reader to initialize.
If you drop it, it is never broken.
You may still acquire an author of choice’s autograph, and not one that has been programmed into the interface.
There are NO advertisements to interrupt your reading pleasure.
You cannot dog-ear an electronic page, no matter how you try!
A crumb of food, or drop of drink, might well end your electronic reading pleasure, but not print, it just gains character.
You cannot actually ‘highlight’ pages in an electronic book, as you may in print.
You can ALWAYS find a buyer for a print book, whereas electronic viewing material is never YOUR’S to sell!
Printed books can become heirlooms.

“Whats wi’d d’is guy an’ his books???”

Let’s just say that, I have enough to keep me going, for instance:
1. All the ‘Dirty harry’ adventures in paperback.
2. The continually growing collection of one Ms. Kim Harrison’s ‘Hollows’ adventures, in both hardback and paperback.
3. Most of Robert E. Howard’s works.
4. All of Ian Fleming’s works, and a few of the wanna-be’s, as well.
5. Works of Zane Grey.
6. Works of Rex Stout.
7. Works of Robert B. Parker.
8. The few works in print concerning a certain short-stutured Los Angeles Homicide lieutenant, with a very old car.

I have my “have read” and “yet to read” bookshelves, don’t worry!


23 posted on 01/07/2013 1:12:12 PM PST by Terry L Smith
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To: knarf

first for me would be Les Miserables... however, my son knows it inside out, so that frees me to memorize another favorite book or two—Paul’s Letter to the Philippians (NIV) and The Odyssey—in the original Greek, if i could...


24 posted on 01/07/2013 1:12:12 PM PST by latina4dubya ( self-proclaimed tequila snob)
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To: Borges

The higher profits from the digital books have made print books more feasible economically. Production costs were killing them before the e-book came along.

I’ve never even touched an e-book device. Let them continue to subsidize my hardcovers and stay away from me.


25 posted on 01/07/2013 1:17:40 PM PST by firebrand
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To: knarf

then i would tackle the Psalms in Hebrew... and the Aeneid in Latin—that would probably be the easiest after Philippians...


26 posted on 01/07/2013 1:17:40 PM PST by latina4dubya ( self-proclaimed tequila snob)
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To: Borges
If I were designing a new publishing Company I would start with eBooks! But I would also "PRINT" High quality hardbacks.

Why? Because my reading habit is so engrained into me that I cannot now store ALL of the books I read. (I still have just about every hard copy book I've ever owned and I've run out of room.) That is why I love me Kindle Fire (But I think I would have been happier with just a plain Kindle the fire is just a little uncomfortable to hold with just one hand)

So now I go crazy with eBooks BUT when I run across a book I really Like I would love to have a nice leather bound copy with archival quality paper and gilt edging and a sewn in silk book mark and would be willing to pay premium for such. But I refuse to pay the ridiculous prices for a new standard Hardback being they are so poorly manufactured now. I wait till I can find them in the bargain bins or remaindered tables. And I hate paperbacks especially TRADE paperbacks which are just an excuse to get more money for a paperback copy.

27 posted on 01/07/2013 1:27:21 PM PST by Mad Dawgg (If you're going to deny my 1st Amendment rights then I must proceed to the 2nd one...)
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To: discostu
Here's an experiment any reader can do: when you're having a bad day go to a bookstore, on another bad day click on Amazon.

I don't know. I have yet to run into a stinky, liberal hippy when I click 'check out' at Amazon.

28 posted on 01/07/2013 1:27:27 PM PST by tnlibertarian
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To: tnlibertarian

You apparently don’t get the “ooooooh books I can buy” high. Hippies can’t touch it.


29 posted on 01/07/2013 1:29:07 PM PST by discostu (I recommend a fifth of Jack and a bottle of Prozac)
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To: discostu

I haven’t read a “real book” since I got my Kindle Keyboard last year.

And in my area (southern Calif.) bookstores are going out of business in droves.


30 posted on 01/07/2013 2:11:33 PM PST by Signalman
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To: Signalman

They’ve certainly made the competition stiffer. But I just don’t want an e-book, they have no draw to me. So much of what makes books awesome to me is other than the content. I love to see, smell them, be in a room filled with them. No e-book can do that. If you’re all about the content I suppose e-books are the path, but there’s ritual to books for me.


31 posted on 01/07/2013 2:17:36 PM PST by discostu (I recommend a fifth of Jack and a bottle of Prozac)
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To: Borges

I love e-books for traveling and being on the go especially. So much easier than carrying a ton of reading material with me everywhere. I tend to use my Bible on the Kindle a lot too. I still love my actual books though. There’s a lot of books I still buy and keep on my bookshelf. Amazon has a ton of free books/apps and often for the “fluff” reads I tend to just do the e-book thing.


32 posted on 01/07/2013 2:21:57 PM PST by pnz1
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To: Borges
He's right about the short term.

How things will look when we are all gone is another matter, that's harder to speculate about.

If civilization lasts, CD's will be long gone, replaced by something else -- if they haven't already been.

Books will still be around, but as quaint and old-timey relics.

Maybe like sheet music or player piano rolls -- still around but not selling in anything like the numbers it did earlier.

33 posted on 01/07/2013 2:53:39 PM PST by x
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To: Dr. Sivana
"That is why lawyersgo to Lexis and Westlaw before hard copy."

Westlaw (which I use everyday) is sophisticated boolean search software and has capabilities way, way beyond anything kindle, nook or the like has. Further, finding margin notes or going back and forth between pages to find a passage you remember is much more tedious in the typical e-reader than with paper and cardboard. But, to each his own. Use whatever works for you.

34 posted on 01/07/2013 3:07:25 PM PST by circlecity
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To: Borges

“Print is here to stay,” unless we want all publicly available knowledge to disappear in a disaster (e.g., EMP strikes).


35 posted on 01/07/2013 4:12:17 PM PST by familyop (We Baby Boomers are croaking in an avalanche of rotten politics smelled around the planet.)
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To: circlecity
Further, finding margin notes or going back and forth between pages to find a passage you remember is much more tedious in the typical e-reader than with paper and cardboard.But, to each his own. Use whatever works for you.

I wasn't comparing reference books on a Kindle to hard copy, but digital reference books versus hard copy. It would be trivial for Amazon to add equally sophisticated boolean searches, and such readers may already exist. Obviously, for those who write notes in the margin, no current pad or reader renders that functionality very well. I use a desktop for most of my e-reading, and an iPod Touch for the rest. The ultimate reference book is the Holy Bible. I can search my preferred version on DRBO.ORG very easily, though for straight reading I prefer a hard copy, and I don't see myself carrying an iPad into Mass any time soon to replace the Missal, though good software for that purpose already exists. For those who worry about digital copies being "corrected" by PC forces, just save you old PDF copy to a thumb drive, label it, and put it away.
36 posted on 01/07/2013 4:50:36 PM PST by Dr. Sivana ("C'est la vie" say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell. -- Chuck Berry)
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To: Borges

ereaders give me a headache, print books don’t.


37 posted on 01/07/2013 7:57:08 PM PST by Some Fat Guy in L.A. (Still bitterly clinging to rational thought despite it's unfashionability)
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