RARA-AVIS: Re: Electronic Books

From: K. Elisabeth Johnson (prosperena@yahoo.com)
Date: 09 Nov 2009

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    >A huge problem when technologies that are complex replace much simpler >ones. If a computer cannot read an old disk, there is very little a >person can do. A printed text can be copied without any high-tech.

    You've hit the nail on the head. This is, of course, entirely the point for manufacturers of e-reading devices. These products are deliberately intended to become obsolete so that users must either replace them completely with a new device or "update" with the "new version." Costs upon costs. Books -- you buy them once and read them as many times as you want.

    All our philosophical/practical discussions as readers and/or authors aside, I think the real issue here is about the preservation of electronic media. amazon, Sony, Google, etc. etc. are not interested in the preservation of content or the availability/usability of devices to read content but only in making money. That's okay. That's their purpose. But as readers/authors our concerns need to lie with ready access to texts, whenever, wherever. As we increasingly use e-readers we need to think ahead to the issues of audiovisual and electronic media preservation, already an enormous problem for audio- and videotapes. Even when these artifacts are preserved, the devices to play/project them on are often no longer available.


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