In my last post I wondered what qualities make a book a book, in the face of new kinds of book publishing that often ignore past conventions. So I was interested to see this post about one person’s perspective on “the innovation we need to see before eBooks can completely replace pBooks.” His criteria?
- Make it easier to show off my library
- Make it easier to share books
- Make it possible for authors to digitally sign books
On the first point he recounts how someone came to his house and noticed that many of the same books were in his own collection. They immediately felt an affinity that would have been lacking otherwise. Therefore, he pines for a way to achieve the same result with a collection of digital books, perhaps through a public listing of them via iCloud or a similar service.
As librarians on the front lines of the copyright wars, we know his second item is doomed to failure for at least the next decade. But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t hope for it, or work to achieve it.
It was his last point that took me by surprise. I guess because I had not thought of an ebook as having artifactual value like a print book does. I mean, let’s say an author signed your Rocket eBook reader copy of his book? Where would you be now?
What do you think are the necessary environmental factors and technological and/or societal characteristics to be in place before the print book goes the way of the horse and carriage? Still around, that is, but only as curiosities. Personally, I’m not sure print books will ever be that marginalized, but everyone knows I’ve been wrong before. Let me know what you think.