Sea of Reads

Peripatetic, itinerant, eclectic musings about books, politics, history, language, culture, and anything else that interests me.

Ain’t Nothin’ Like the Real Thing, Baby

So if e-books are so much cooler than physical books, then why did Amazon just announce that an upcoming software upgrade will include page numbers that correspond to the actual physical book?

Because books have page numbers, that’s why:

The change, announced last week, does have a practical purpose — especially for book clubs, whose digital readers presumably will no longer have trouble looking up the same page as analog readers.But there is also a sense of absurdity here. E-books, by definition, do not have pages. Depending on which size font someone uses, she may have to advance the screen many times before “turning a page.” Then there are the questions of how to approach books with many physical editions, or texts that exist only in digital space.

But decisions like Amazon’s are not based on practicality alone.

“The location numbers on a Kindle are rational, and they make sense for the medium — but they don’t correspond to the emotional expectations of what a book is,” said Adam Greenfield, managing director of Urbanscale, a New York-based urban design practice, and author of “Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing.”



2 comments on “Ain’t Nothin’ Like the Real Thing, Baby

  1. Ron Chusid
    February 13, 2011

    It’s not an either/or thing. If sitting at home I’d pull out the physical book. However it is also convenient to have an ebook version on my phone so I can pull up a book I want to read wherever I am if I don’t have the physical book.

    When traveling I primarily use my ebook reader since I can carry lots of books without taking up hardly any room or increasing the weight of suit cases if flying. Of course when flying it is necessary to bring one physical book to read during those periods when all electronic devices must be turned off.

  2. Kathy
    February 13, 2011

    Oh, I guess that’s reasonable. 🙂

    Thanks for the comment, too. I’m happy to know anyone still reads Sea of Reads — as infrequently as I’ve been updating it!


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This entry was posted on February 13, 2011 by in Book Biz, Publishing, Reading Life.
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