Today in books and publishing: The ongoing hand-wringing over e-books; the Library of Congress's great reading list; Apple anti-trust suit wrinkles; Alec Baldwin gets mad, gets books.
E-books, e-books, e-books! If beings from a more progressed society came to Earth and were living among us, say, in 500 years or so, they'd probably look at this week or month, maybe the whole year of 2012, and say, Wow, those people would not stop talking about this thing they call "e-books." And why that name, so cutesy and belittling? Are they books, can we call them that at all, if they're on a tablet? Yes, they do have words strung together into sentences, into prose, with plots and characters and themes and all those other book-things, even if they don't exist in paper bound forms. E-books! They are everywhere, like little fast cars instead of horses and buggies, trumping sales of "actual" physical books, and so we have feelings about them, we do. For example, NPR's piece by Amanda Katz "Will Your Children Inherit Your E-Books?" So seemingly impermanent, might books just disappear altogether?, is the hinted upon concern. Are we heading to a bookless society? Related article we hope to read: Will Grandma Steal Your Kindle?
All this debate tends to leave out one key fact, though, which is that we assume the time we're living in (e-book time) is what will exist forever. Technology is moving fast, and I dare speculate that there will be something new in this arena, books that aren't books but are books still, sooner rather than later. Formats may die—and some day that Kindle will seem antiquated as well, mark its words—but stories won't. Because the thing about e-book readers, who both buy and borrow their reading materials, is that, pure and simple, they love books. [NPR]