It’s not actually progress, is it?

Are electronic books just another example of making something more complicated just for the sake of it? Yes I know that’s sort of stating the obvious, and it’s not the sort of the thing the entertainment industy juggernaut wants to hear, but then they don’t care do they; it’s going to happen.

It’s like DVD. DVDs are OK, the picture’s pretty sharp compared to VHS, and the sound is a hell of a lot better. The only problem with them is that they’re not selling quite as much as they used to, we’ve replaced our knackered old video collection, and apart from the occasional boxset of The Wire and Gavin and Stacey, we’ve finished with our movies collection. So now they have convinced everyone that they need HD or Blu-Ray or whatever, so everyone needs to go out and buy everything all over again. Well they can fuck off, I’m not buying into any different formats – am I made of money?

Anyway, they reckon the same thing is going to happen to books and newspapers. It’s all very impressive in a techno way, if you’re a robot. But not if you’re human, and paper is a human sort of thing, where a TFT screen isn’t.

Why do we have replace everything with plastic and metal, and then pretend it’s progress? I’m reminded of the story of the NASA space programme, when they realised that pens weren’t going to work in low-gravity. They spent tens of millions of dollars on research to come up with a pen that would work for astronauts. What did the Russian comsonauts do? They used pencils.

Don’t get me started on our radio being switched over to digital whether we want to or not, else i shall get quite irate.


2 thoughts on “It’s not actually progress, is it?

  1. lucidlunatic says:

    Doesn’t the notion of being able to carry several hundred books around in your backpack appeal to you?

    Remember also that at the advent of the Gutenberg press there was complaint over the ‘dehumanizing’ effect of the metal press. The publication of books without hand drawn calligraphy and pictures in the margins didn’t appeal to some people… but look where we are now!

  2. the gadget fan in me likes the idea, but i’d miss the tactile element to reading it, the stick a finger as a bookmark while you check something on another page, reading it in the bath, etc. and you can’t lend the book to a friend if it’s locked in my DRM. and books are furniture. the notion of being able to lose all of my books in one go doesn’t appeal though 🙂 possibly the 10th generation electobook might be something wonderful…

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