Monday, May 19, 2008

The Dawning of the Age of Ebooks

In today's Wall Street Journal, L. Gordon Crovitz writes about the promise ebooks and ebook readers like the Amazon Kindle hold for the future of books ("The Digital Future of Books"). Ebook readers may well reverse the current trend toward shorter periods of time people spend reading these days because ebooks can be accessed instantly anywhere. Imagine any book at your fingertips whenever you want. It is truly historic.

Crovitz quotes Jeff Gomez and his book Print is Dead: Books in Our Digital Age:
It's not about the page versus the screen...it's about the screen doing a dozen things the page can't do.
And I think that is a point lost on some loud librarians who just don't get it, and write anti-ebook articles that appear on the cover of American Libraries, and can't understand the historic changes ebooks herald in the way we read--and think. Amazingly, I see nothing at all about ebook readers (and almost nothing about ebooks themselves) on the program for this year's SLA annual library conference in Seattle.

Crovitz credits Aristotle as the first to explain that how we communicate alters what we communicate. Ebooks will fundamentally alter the nature of modern communication.

It's great to see some people comprehend what ebooks are all about, that they are here to stay, and they will be a central and an integral part of communication over the next century. The trend toward ebooks has already started with science, technology, and reference books. The rest will follow. One hundred years in the future, in the year 2108, they'll have a fun time hypothesizing why some groups of people fought against all this.