Also on the topic of e-books: it turns out that John Siracusa of Ars Technica (my favorite blog for news of Internet and all things IT-related) was a web developer for Peanut Press, the firm that took the best, earliest shot at creating an e-book market. Siracusa has written a comprehensive look at the past, present and future of e-books. On the topic of “e-book inevitability”:
All of the arguments about screen quality and medium/content separation crumble to dust in the face of these inconvenient truths: broadly speaking, people aren’t buying e-books; people don’t want e-books; people do not want to read book-length texts off of a screen. Or, to paraphrase a long-forgotten but nevertheless surprisingly applicable movie from the 90s, people love their books.
But the truth is, these things always turn out the same way. And I have some bad news for the bibliophiles. The beloved, less technically sophisticated information conveyance with the pedigreed history doesn’t win. To put it bluntly, people die.
Ars Technica is notable for combining an alpha-nerd understanding of technology with special attention to human factors and lay-person’s language; they’ve published articles on the intricacies of microprocessor architecture that my grandma could grok. This is required reading.