For The Love Of Print

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It's a fact that print books continue to linger. Why though? Jeffery R. Di Leo puts it best in his article when describes that we're attached to the permanence of the printed book; that people are still scared by the shear impermanence of an eBook. He goes on to describe that they way readers view print books is very different from the way they view e-publications. So I have to question... why? Is it because of the comfort of them? The longevity? The familiarity? I don't have an answer really, except that it's a much more emotional attachment than anything people can describe. The "feel" of the book that some people describe, it's not one tangible thing, it's just the "feel" of it..

It's also pretty crazy to think that people hate ebooks and never even give them a chance- but in a way it's understandable. My grandma was one of those people. She received an iPad for christmas last year and she didn't even want to hit the unlock button. She thought it was going to be useless to her and would be too hard to figure out. After some coaxing and being able to skype while I was in Italy she was sold. Now she is completely attached to her iPad-she reads on it, watches movies, youtubes, emails, looks up recipes, the list goes on and on. But she says she was hesitant because it was so new. And thinking about it more, she's never seen something like this in her life. She didn't even have a color TV growing up and now she can have everything in the palms of her hands, all instantly.

But I don't think anything has to physically happen to ebooks- people's attitudes just need to change about them. In the Bob Stein article he described that once you get past the book being a physical thing and realize that it's user driven media the epublication makes so much more sense. And I think just that has to happen. In order for digital books to become more widely accepted in the academic world we will have to get past this relationship with the printed book, we have to start a new relationship with the digital book..



cmmayberry's picture

I can relate to this!

I am totally like your grandmother, I can contest to the lack of desire for new age innovation but after warming up to our favorite 9x7 friend, I was wholeheartedly obsessed. As in could not put the shiny object down, it was a literal 180. After I began to play with the awesome piece of equipment, I was no longer opening up my Macbook to watch live streams, email, surfing the web etc. I have no idea why I hated the iPad prior to experiencing it, but I understand the fear of progress in today's modern technology. Personally, I feel that so much is going on that we rarely have time to stop and appreciate the quality of life we were given. Maybe I thought that the ipad was helping to disconnect even faster than we we prior to its exposure? With regards to the iPad, I recall tweeting that it was a ridiculous invention a few months ago and now, I'm slapping myself in the face. Hello! The thing rocks! The hiatus between what we have previously accepted as a "book" and what we will begin to accept as a book is still there but with time, I believe more will welcome the ebook rather than fear it.

Will's picture

The Feel of the Book

I also had this 'feeling' towards the printed book that I couldn't explain. And then I got a Kindle. It seems that even the most diehard print enthusiast begins to break whenever they at least try an e-reader. Perhaps they won't be converted, but I don't think that's the main issue. I'd prefer to have both print and e-books, the best of both worlds. At this point, exclusivity is not the goal, but some print (and digital) enthusiasts won't see the other side's point of view. It's clear we're headed towards a fully digital age, but I hope we don't forget our past.

Meagan757's picture

Printed Past

Ah! I so agree. I would drag my book down to the beach and it would get sandy, wet from the ocean and covered in tanning oil. But I never wanted to break my love for the printed book. But then I got a kindle for my birthday, a beach case for this summer and I was definitely converted... The size and weight make it easy to carry around. It's so versetile. But when I moved back down to Clemson to school, I had several crates of books, my "library," that I just had to have down here. So even though I pick up my kindle to read at night, I can't say that I'll ever fully get over the printed book. So I hope, too, that we don't forget our printed past.