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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<how...@brazee.net>  wrote:
>> On Sun, 08 Apr 2012 22:09:16 -0400, "Sea Wasp (Ryk E. Spoor)"
>>
>> <seaw...@sgeinc.invalid.com>  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