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The voice of reason

The kerfuffle over eReaders— including the vocal opponents of them as well as the folks who tout one technology to the exclusion of everything else— gets pretty acrimonious at times. It's nice to hear a calm, reasoned assessment of the situation. The TeleRead blog recently ran an excellent post on eReaders by Lancelot Kirby. In "Battle of the eReaders Redux" Kirby makes some excellent points about how change causes different reactions in different people, and how the new eReader leap in technology resembles Gutenberg's invention of the printing press, right down to the lack of color in early works, especially compared to hand-illuminated manuscripts.

I particularly liked Kirby's closing sentences:

We do not hold the world to a way of thinking simply because we are too long accustomed to it. The fact that Gutenberg’s little wine press has remained with us for five centuries virtually unchanged is a miracle of human genius, but even five hundred years does not guarantee a technology’s survival. Nevertheless, I see a long future for print yet remaining, and don’t believe it necessary to kill the still reigning king of the Republic of Letters.

Perhaps it is time to call a truce and bring the books home from the battlefield, returning them to our hands where they may continue their purpose, regardless of their form.

Well said! Although printing has actually changed a lot in 500 years. It's the book in your hand that has stayed the same.





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