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Re: "A lamentation on the demise of books and other artifacts"

Robert Bannister Apr 16, 2012 1:42 AM
Posted in group: rec.arts.sf.written
On 10/04/12 2:04 AM, Richard R. Hershberger wrote:
> On Apr 8, 10:22 pm, Howard Brazee<>  wrote:
>> On Sun, 08 Apr 2012 22:09:16 -0400, "Sea Wasp (Ryk E. Spoor)"
>> <>  wrote:
>>>     Eh. My thoughts on Ebooks are that they're great things but I have
>>> books that I can pick up and read that are a hundred years old. I am
>>> unconvinced that books I have on my Kindle today will be there for my
>>> grandchildren 50 years from now -- both because I doubt the hardware
>>> will be there to read it, and that the current asinine practices towards
>>> treating anything electronic as a temporary permission slip rather than
>>> ownership will tend to make anything ephemeral.
>> Most dead tree books don't survive a century.   I have old books and
>> magazines that I have to be very careful of.
> True, but it is entirely predictable which will last and which won't,
> based on the quality of the paper.  The oldest volume which I have
> ever personally sat down and read was about five hundred years old
> (albeit with a modern library binding).  The oldest volumes I
> personally own are about a hundred and fifty or so years old, while
> the oldest written document I personally own (a page from a missal) is
> about six hundred years old.  But none of these were intended to be
> ephemeral.  Newspapers or mass market paperbacks from fifty years ago
> are a different matter entirely.
>> And every e-book I buy, I break the DRM protection and save in
>> multiple places - for my own peace of mind.
> I have been purchasing books intended for the long haul for about
> thirty years.  It is not unusual for me to pick up and read a book I
> haven't opened in decades.  I'm not even sure how many computers I
> have gone through since my first desktop around 1990 or so.  Data
> preservation is not an unsolvable problem by any means, but I haven't
> noticed anyone marketing a practical solution for people who want to
> make sure their ebook are readable in thirty years.
>> If my grandchildren do not want what they inherit from me - it will be
>> their choice.   I don't believe books are somehow special that they
>> need my library as opposed to my desk or my chair or my socks.   They
>> can buy new books or new desks or new socks.
> Well, sure.  That's what estate sales are for.
>> Everything I have is ephemeral.
> Everything is ephemeral, for some value of "ephemeral".  But not
> everything I own is ephemeral, on the time scale of my lifetime.
> Which brings me to my take on ebooks (which naturally I declare to be
> the sensible media res).  Ebooks make perfect sense for some sorts of
> text.  Disposable fiction is a prime example.  There are obvious
> advantages for the type of book which, in paperback form, once you
> finished it you would simply leave on a table for someone else to
> read.  Textbooks are another example.

Wow! The possibilities: maths books in which _all_ the answers are
correct. Geography books with the all the current names right. Language
books with all the latest slang. Chemistry texts without chemical smears
over the vital words.

Robert Bannister