Author Andrew Piper: Turning Pages Is Important, Therefore Reading Ebooks Isn't Reading

from the you-can't-hug-an-ebook-with-digital-arms-or-some-shit-like-that dept

Every technological advance is greeted as some point during its life cycle (usually as it approaches ubiquity) by the disgruntled arguments of people who prefer older things or methods. Never has this been more prevalent than in the digital era. People diss mp3s for their sonic limitations, which is fine, but then they go a step further, claiming the "real" way to listen to music involves using other, older technology. There's an emphasis on the physicality of the product, as if it were somehow more "real" simply because you can leave greasy fingerprints on it, thus lowering its resale value.

Certain authors have argued this adamantly over the recent years, proudly declaiming the superiority of the old school, dead tree book. Apparently, there's nothing like picking up an odorous book (smells like real) whose binding glue has slowly disintegrated over the years, causing the pages to scatter across the floor and sending all those helpful book scorpions scuttling off in search of a new home. That's real. That's reading. This stuff you do with your eyes on screens? Your brain might tell you it's reading, but it's nothing of the sort.

Fortunately for those of us who believe otherwise, Andrew Piper has visited Slate to set us all back on the path of touchable righteousness. In a lengthy post that reads like a dry historical text populated with anti-tech non sequiturs, Piper decries the falseness of reading books on a screen, because if you can't physically touch it, it's just not real.
Amid the seemingly endless debates today about the future of reading, there remains one salient, yet often overlooked fact: Reading isn’t only a matter of our brains; it’s something that we do with our bodies.
For those of you without skulls to hold your eyes (lucky bastards!), reading is an experience for the body as much as it is for the brain. There's your hands, which will turn pages and... your torso... which holds your limbs and, by extension, your hands... never mind. Here's more:
To think about the future of reading means, then, to think about the long history of how touch has shaped reading and, by extension, our sense of ourselves while we read.
At this point, the history lesson begins. The first witness on the stand in defense of "touching is reading" is none other than St. Augustine, whose conversion to Christianity was a defining moment in "hand-to-book" reading.

The original Kindle Fire

At this moment, he tells us, “I had no wish to read more and no need to do so. For in an instant, as I came to the end of the sentence, it was as though the light of confidence flooded into my heart and all the darkness of doubt was dispelled.” Augustine closes the book, marking his place with his finger, and goes to tell his friend Alypius about his experience. His conversion is complete.
Bookmarking. Completely unavailable or at the very least, not the same! Score one for St. Augustine. There's much, much, much, much more history where that came from, weaving together a very long narrative that basically states "humans have hands and like to touch stuff." Along the way, you'll meet all sorts of historical figures (Eugene Delacroix! Faust! Abraham Ortelius!) It's an essay of appropriately essay-esque length.

In between the historical musings are convoluted paragraphs like this:
Nothing is more suspect today than the book’s continued identity of being “at hand.” The spines, gatherings, threads, boards, and folds that once gave a book its shapeliness, that fit it to our hands, are being supplanted by the increasingly fine strata of new reading devices, integrated into vast woven systems of connection. If books are essentially vertebral, contributing to our sense of human uniqueness that depends upon bodily uprightness, digital texts are more like invertebrates, subject to the laws of horizontal gene transfer and nonlocal regeneration. Like jellyfish or hydra polyps, they always elude our grasp in some fundamental sense. What this means for how we read—and how we are taken hold of by what we read—is still far from clear.
If I'm reading this correctly (though I suppose I am not, since I'm reading it on an LCD screen), the rise of ebooks will finally allow us to shed our uncomfortable skeletons and return, spineless and triumphant, to R'lyeh to awaken Cthulhu from his long slumber.

And there's this, which one would think was Piper attempting to wrap things up, but actually lies somewhere near the middle of the post:
For Augustine, the book’s closedness—that it could be grasped as a totality—was integral to its success in generating transformative reading experiences. Its closedness was the condition of the reader’s conversion. Digital texts, by contrast, are radically open in their networked form. They are marked by a very weak sense of closure. Indeed, it is often hard to know what to call them (e-books, books, texts, or just documents) without any clear sense of the material differences between them.
Most people call them ebooks.

Piper's article seems to go beyond the normal arguments about aesthetic preferences and move towards touting the moral superiority of print, simply because your hands can touch and feel paper and it's different than touching and feeling an electronic device. E-readers are not... physical enough. And because of that lack of physicality, reading is no longer as real.

But think of all the advances made over the years that just aren't as real as their predecessors, thanks to diminished physical interaction. We fully expect Piper to explore these in further densely unreadable screeds:
  • Riding a bike today isn't nearly as real as it was, what with not having to worry about your crotchal region and forearms being pounded mercilessly by the combination of solid rubber tires, no suspension system and a lack of decent pavement.
  • Driving a car lacks the coarse physicality of driving a team of horses across dusty plains in search of a Slurpee and a pack of smokes.
  • Watching a movie isn't nearly as "real" as watching a good old fashioned play, where actors were actual, physical human beings close enough to touch and/or interrupt with an ill-timed coughing fit/incoming call.
  • For that matter, making an outgoing call is simply a matter of pressing some fake buttons (or simply mashing a thumb on a fake face in the Contact list). Our forearms and dialing finger have atrophied from under-use going all the way back to the days when friends with the most 0's in their numbers got the fewest calls.
  • Today's cold scientific medical community, with its beeping machinery and wires everywhere can never be as real as it was in the past when the common cold was treated with a combination of leeches, heroin and a full frontal lobotomy.
  • Firing up your local newspaper's website will never be as real as paging through the paper version, admiring the ink stains on your fingers and the box scores informing you that the game ended after press time. The website also can't offer you the physical pain of multiple scratches (picked up while retrieving the paper from your overgrown rose bush) or multiple bite wounds (picked up while retrieving the paper from your neighbor's Rottweiler-infested backyard).
  • Nuking a quick meal for the kids? Get over yourself. Real people start their own fires from scratch, by doing whatever it is that Boy Scouts do to earn the "Firestarter" badge. And that Healthy Choice meal? Better get right to slaughtering your own flavorless chicken and growing some equally flavorless rice to accompany it.
  • Writing an email can't possibly compare to the physical purity of placing quill to parchment and hand-scratching a lengthy URL onto it, along with "Yo, Ted. Check thiſ out."
  • Buying stuff with a credit card online vs. biting gold pieces into "bits" at the trading post, online classes vs. sleeping through Philosophy in an uncomfortable chair, and etc. ad nauseaum.
One of Piper's closing paragraphs comes so close to getting it right, but he twists it to fit his "ebooks are intangible" narrative. He describes the "connection" the physical book makes when he reads a story to his kids at bedtime:
As I begin to read, the kids begin to lean into me. Our bodies assume positions of rest, the book our shared column of support. No matter what advertisers say, this could never be true of the acrobatic screen. As we gradually sink into the floor, and each other, our minds are freed to follow their own pathways, unlike the prescribed pathways of the Web. We read and we drift. “The words of my book nothing,” writes Walt Whitman, “the drift of it everything.”
While I'm not sure what version of the web Piper uses (Web 0.85b?) that follows "prescribed pathways" (mine goes pretty much anywhere with very little provocation), that's not really where the error lies. The book isn't the "shared column of support," Piper. It's you! Why would you sell your own importance short? My kids like to be near me, too. It doesn't matter if we're reading a book, streaming something on Netflix, watching someone do something funny/stupid on YouTube or slinging Angry Birds across the screen. The important thing isn't the physicality of the object. It's the shared experience. To attribute this to something made of glue, paper and ink is ridiculous, and to further claim that a shift to electronics is robbing us of a part of our humanity even more so.


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    Alana (profile), Nov 30th, 2012 @ 7:45pm

    Techdirt was cooler back when it utilized older 'dirt' tech. :

     

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      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Nov 30th, 2012 @ 9:17pm

      Re:

      Dirt Tech (cuneiform tablets and the like) are the only media that have a chance of outliving copyright.

       

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      Erlkoenig, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 8:40am

      Ok so, first of all, I'm on my phone and I've never commented on Techdirt before, so the only way i found to comment was to reply. I'm probably just blind. So, sorry this doesn't actually have anything to do with your comment
      I actually TL;DR'd most of this. I actually feel like I absorb information from physical books better than ebooks. Why? Because I grew nup doing my reading on paper. It's what I'm used to. Sure, I read articles on the internet but it's not quite the same to me. Does this mean ebooks are somehow inferior? No, it means I'm used to one thing, so I don't like the other.

       

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    Coasty (profile), Nov 30th, 2012 @ 7:51pm

    Good Lord... All that verbiage to say something simple!

    Ya know, after reading Piper's article, it sure was a long-winded way of saying "I don't like ebooks"!!!

    I don't much care for them myself but, GEEZ, who cares...

     

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    droozilla (profile), Nov 30th, 2012 @ 7:52pm

    I touch a scroll wheel, page down key, or e-reader. What the hell is this idiot going on about?

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Nov 30th, 2012 @ 8:06pm

    So, is this Andrew Piper guy trying to apply to be a hipster(X was cooler before it...), using this as his résumé?

    Can't imagine how else he could so massively miss that it's the words in a book that matter, with the binding, whether solid or electronic, being far down the list as to what's actually important.

     

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      Alana (profile), Nov 30th, 2012 @ 8:10pm

      Re:

      Digital words don't feel as real as real words, man!

      /hipstervoice

       

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      The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Nov 30th, 2012 @ 9:34pm

      Re:

      Now now, let's not forget the highly important spider sqooshing. Hardbacks are far superior due to the added mass and it's a much less expensive proposition to throw one at the ground several feet away for the really big, hairy buggers.

       

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        Dionaea (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 8:53am

        Re: Re:

        I am inclined to disagree, when sqooshing spiders and especially aforementioned bookscorpions on a not perfectly even surface paperback books are far superior, though newspapers are still best suited for this task.

         

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          Tex Arcana (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 8:11pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Not only can I squish various fauna; I can hit you (or some other unwitting victim) in the head with said RealBooks(TM).


          That said: I somewhat agree with Piper. But I grew up reading books: flipping the pages is as ingrained into my very being as that feeling of satisfied finality as I read the last words, and close the book! So far, I have yet to read an ebook that gives me that feeling.

          Perhaps it's the ADD-riddled youth of today (who cannot concentrate on a single thing long enough to read more than a few words, before having to flip out to Faceplant, or the favorite pr0n site, FarmVille, the Sims, a round of HALO, and some Mincraft, before popping back to the ebook to read a few more words) that scoff at the physicality of reading--and no wonder!! You have to actually concentrate on what you're doing, omfg!

          When the ereader loses its battery, when the web dies in a paroxysm of EMP, when cellphones fail thanks to sunspots: you will still have books. You can read all day long; you can even read all night, with just a candle.

          You need nothing more than a somewhat functioning brain to read a book. And THERE is what makes a book superior to any other form. You don't have to mess with EULAs; you don't have to ask permission; you don't have to worry that some publisher is going to decide you didn't pay enough, or that you stole it, and will erase it off your ereader.

          Once you buy a book, or someone gives one to you, it's YOURS, for as long as you wish. You can read it as many times as you wish; you can read whatever parts you wish; you can underline passages or words, write notes in the margins (omfg, writing?? How primitive is that??), dogear pages with important information to you.

          Sure, you can electronically bookmark a page or pages; you can even annotate electronically as well. But when the power fluctuates, or the sunspots go nuts, or the crazy dictator sets off an EMP over your hometown, or some nutty hacker decides to hack you ereader and mess up all your notes and bookmarks: your own work is gone. Poof. Or worse: altered, sometimes so subtly you would never know--which is the greatest danger we face in the digital age.

          So don't diss books: when there's nothing left, books will remain... at least as long as I have a breath, there will be some somewhere. ;-)

           

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            Dionaea (profile), Dec 2nd, 2012 @ 5:37am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            *dodges blow*

            I'm not as unwitting as you seem to think I am. Providing no crazy dictator unleash EMP blasts near your town and you don't own something as ridiculous as books with DRM or an e-reader with a built in kill switch for files (what moron buys a Kindle anyway), e-books are quite as durable as real books. Especially if I back them up in multiple locations. And hackers messing with your bookmarks? Paranoid much?

            "Or worse: altered, sometimes so subtly you would never know--which is the greatest danger we face in the digital age"

            So you're really trying to say you wouldn't notice if your bookmarks were moved? Or your notes changed? That's more of a problem with your brain than with an e-reader/e-book.

            And you're pretty quick to judge me to be a "ADD-riddled youth of today (who cannot concentrate on a single thing long enough to read more than a few words, before having to flip out to Faceplant, or the favorite pr0n site, FarmVille, the Sims, a round of HALO, and some Mincraft, before popping back to the ebook to read a few more words)". I am quite capable of focusing on one thing for extended periods of time, how else would I have gotten my MSc title? I have to admit, I have a facebook page ... with about 10 posts ... over 3+ years. Though I do wonder how you know about all these other wastes of time I'd never think of, perhaps you are more of a sinner than I am?

            And yes, real books do have some merit, I own plenty, but most of the crap being written as "entertainment" isn't worth the paper it's printed on. We would be much better off with trash like Twilight lost for posterity. But hey, kill another bunch of trees since you want to touch the paper so badly. The only books I buy without knowing them beforehand are scientific books and I don't do that without prior research on the contents.

            Oh, I do have a job for you though, if you're so concerned about preservation. You should print the thousands upon thousands of useful scientific articles published online-only to preserve them for posterity. That way you'll really do the world a favor. Unless ofcourse you think their presence on harddrives of scientists around the world is enough...

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 10:09am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Perhaps it's the ADD-riddled youth of today (who cannot concentrate on a single thing long enough to read more than a few words, before having to flip out to Faceplant, or the favorite pr0n site, FarmVille, the Sims, a round of HALO, and some Mincraft, before popping back to the ebook to read a few more words) that scoff at the physicality of reading--and no wonder!!


            No, it's not. I'm not a youth, I don't suffer from ADD, I don't even use facebook, twitter, or the like.

            I also don't find that reading a book in electronic form lacks anything of the experience of reading a book in the old-fashioned form. Except nostalgia.

            You are essentially making the same mistake Piper made: you are thinking that because you prefer a certain medium, that medium must be objectively superior. But that's not what it means -- it simply means that you prefer it, nothing more or less.

            Objectively speaking, bound books are superior in some ways, and ebooks are superior in other ways. This is true with all technology (and bound books are no more or less "technology" than ebooks are).

            There is nothing wrong with preferring bound books. It's a matter of taste. But equally, there's nothing wrong with preferring ebooks.

            It's the story that is the important thing in the end, not the medium used to convey it.

             

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              Tex Arcana (profile), Dec 4th, 2012 @ 5:37pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              A.C., Dionaea:

              Y'all seem to have a misconception about the durability of digital media. Books have been proven to be able to last centuries, if not millennia, with minimally reasonable care (keep 'em dry, don't abse the, much). Digital media, otoh, is far more delicate: I wouldn't trust a hard drive to save my neck; CDs have been show to deteriorate after even just ten years or less, not to mention a form of fungal rot (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/1402533.stm) that seems to eat discs and render them unplayable; and one stray cosmic ray can render any solid state device into an expensive paperweight. And it doesn't take much of a sunspot explosion to completely interrupt wireless communication.

              If the scientists were really smart, they'd back those articles up onto something a bit more durable.

               

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    Dave Xanatos, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 8:10pm

    This is why I print all of the techdirt posts that come out and write out my comments for my assistant to type them in here for me.

    Refreshing to get the new comments costs a fortune in ink, however.

     

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    Mesonoxian Eve (profile), Nov 30th, 2012 @ 8:12pm

    Don't fret, Tim.

    You see, thousands of years ago, people used to complain about these abominations one "turned flimsy pulp to read", and took away the sensation of unrolling papaya, as well as all skills at reading faded ink, to decipher what remained.

    Sadly, I'll never know what happened to those who argued against using rolled works to replace cave paintings. I think they went extinct.

     

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      MrWilson, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 10:09pm

      Re:

      Bah. In my day, people just remembered stories and passed them on from generation to generation in an oral history. We didn't need paper or papyrus or stone tablets or cave walls. Those were the good old days...

       

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        Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 5:02am

        Re: Re:

        Those were the good old days...
        See that's just the "chinese whispers|" effect of oral tradition and later hand-recopying. The original quote was "Those were the god-awful dolts" :p

         

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    Shadow Dragon (profile), Nov 30th, 2012 @ 8:46pm

    I just don't get luddettes. Why are they so afraid of technology.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 10:22pm

      Re:

      If I had to guess, I'd say computers are beyond him (he likely doesn't own one; I bet that article was written on paper and mailed in), and he's afraid of his livelihood dying out.

      If I'm right, that makes his motive extremely selfish: "Everyone else should have to give up the new things they like so that I don't have to adapt to keep making a living!"

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2012 @ 6:57am

        Re: Re:

        Not selfish, just a frigging dinassour. I realy find hard to respect anyone who is afraid of new things just because they are too lazy to adapt.

        It is infuriating and sad at the same time.

         

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          Tex Arcana (profile), Dec 4th, 2012 @ 5:49pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'm certainly not afraid of tech: I own a very good gaming rig, hooked to my 58" Samsung plasma, I'm writing this reply on my ipad2, and I just got a nice new Galaxy S3.

          On the other hand, my employer is pushing hard to digitize everything, which I distrust immensely--especially since the timekeeping system has already shown that management can make changes to scheduling and timesheets WITHOUT NOTIFICATION TO THE EMPLOYEES IN QUESTION!!

          And it's already been shown many many times how mutable digital documents are, without any way to know said document has been changed. Ebooks can be subtly altered to change the original intent of the author, to "PC-ify" the passage; digital images we already know about ("photochops"). One of these days, we're going to hear about someone signing a contract, then finding it altered digitally by the holder of the contract, and the resulting firestorm.

          Ultimately, all I'm saying is that we should be careful, and distrust digital stuff enough to check things before assuming everything is fine.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 8:17am

      Re:

      "luddettes"

      Why are you picking women?

       

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    sehlat (profile), Nov 30th, 2012 @ 8:47pm

    Piper's Logic Followed To Its Conclusion

    Axiom: If you can't touch or feel it, it isn't real.
    Axiom: If it isn't real, it doesn't exist.

    Conclusion: Thoughts don't exist.

     

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    jupiterkansas (profile), Nov 30th, 2012 @ 9:21pm

    If any of your friends talks about how much they love real books, here's what to get them for xmas.

     

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    sehlat (profile), Nov 30th, 2012 @ 9:26pm

    Very Old Techdirt Post On This Subject

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 9:33pm

    So, quadriplegics are incapable of reading?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 9:20am

      Re:

      Totally, I mean, look at Stephen Hawking . . . think about how he could have contributed to the world if only he knew how to hold a fucking book.

      Nice robot-voice, you e-human!

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2012 @ 8:10am

        Re: Re:

        he can write a good book though.. something which the freetards cannot.. they want to steal someone elses work.. why.. because they want something but are unwilling to pay for it.

         

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Nov 30th, 2012 @ 9:42pm

    We all have a little luddite in us.

    I have to admit, I don't like E-Books nearly as much as I like physical books. An E-Book doesn't look nearly as high class sitting on my coffee table as my leather bound, gold inscribed Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I do, however, own a Nook. It has a few public domain stories and three of Dark Helmet's novels.

     

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      Kam Solusar, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 12:49am

      Re: We all have a little luddite in us.

      Same here. I own an ebook reader and some ebooks, as digital books sure have some adventages (easy bookmarking, full text search, etc.). But I still buy many printed books for various reasons.

      For example, I started reading Star Wars books in my youth and started a collection, trying to acquire all the rare and obscure SW books published over the last three and a half decades. And though I pretty much stopped reading SW books quite a while ago, I still feel the urge to complete my collection. It's just so much more satisfying when I finally find a copy of one of those rare books after scouring book shops and the net for years and then see it sitting on my shelf alongside the others, than just buying all those books with a single click as ebooks.

      And a few months ago I came upon the story of Richard E. Byrd, leader of the first expedition that flew over the south pole in 1929. He wrote a book about this expedition back then and I found a first edition copy via Amazon. Sure, I probably could have bought an ebook version, but it would never be the same as holding an 80 year old book in your hands. Knowing that the book was printed shortly after the expedition, more than 50 years before my birth, makes me feel so much closer to the author and the events than any ebook could ever accomplish.

       

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        Sneeje (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 5:03am

        Re: Re: We all have a little luddite in us.

        That's just it--it's ok to like the experience from physical books better. I do too.

        And I know you both agree, the problem lies in trying to justify that somehow ebooks are fundamentally or innately flawed such that the human race should reject them universally.

         

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        Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 5:22am

        Re: Re: We all have a little luddite in us.

        But I still buy many printed books for various reasons.
        Which is more or less the point and also what I think Piper is using for his argument. What I can't tell is if he's confusing the 2 or choosing to conflate them deliberately.
        What you're talking about mostly there is "collecting", which is a very different thing to the actual purpose of a book. Philatelists don't buy thousands of stamps to mail letters and the reason certain toys (LEGO being a classic example) very quickly end up costing hundreds of pounds more than their sale price isn't because they are being played with.

        Book collecting, whether you actually read them or not (optional), is about all the things you mention and about all the things Piper mentions - the feel and smell of the thing, the thrill of the chase in finding something rare, the style and look etc etc. Book reading on the other hand is about absorbing information from text.

        I think there will always be printed books for exactly this reason - there will always be collectors - but it'll eventually be a niche market aimed specifically at collectors. The "cheap" (hah!) paperback market will inevitably die along with printed reference manuals and educational texts because the purpose of those things is met so much better by a convenient electronic format.
        It happens to everything when technology improves, much the same as farriers are now a specialist skill catering to enthusiasts and sportspeople instead of being a ubiquitous and vital part of every town as they were only a few generations ago.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 9:54pm

    I know what's actually going on here!! Andrew Piper hates trees because he was raped by one.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 10:05pm

    I dislike e-books, but it's got nothing to do with the bullshit that Piper and others are spewing. I simply don't like giving publishers and manufacturers control over my book collection. I know that's not the e-book's fault, but unfortunately DRM and e-books seem to go hand in hand these days.

     

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      Dionaea (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 9:02am

      Re:

      IF you buy autorized versions of copyrighted books with DRM that is. Public domain books are not protected by DRM, neither are pirated ebooks.

       

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    MrWilson, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 10:24pm

    In the same respect that the bigots who oppose gay marriage on the grounds that it devalues marriage actually devalue marriage by denying to others, his opposition to the ebook because he perceives it to pale in comparison to the physical book undermines the very value of books as mediums for the communication of thoughts and ideas, which are the essential value of the written word.

    He's also stuck in the present time. He isn't anticipating that print on demand or even 3d printing of books will be a possibility in the future. Imagine being able to print your sacred physical text and then recycling it into another book when you're done...

    Some books might not be worth the paper they're printed on. Wouldn't it signify the value of a book if it was deemed worthy of having natural resources used in its printing?

    I have about 50 books on my office shelves. I have about 500 on my android tablet. Those ebooks are more valuable than they would be as physical books since I don't have the shelf space to store them all and I may not want to read them more than once.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 11:13pm

      Re:

      He's also stuck in the present time.

      WE ALL ARE !!!!!

      including YOU....

      you talk about printing books, one must assume you would want to print someone else's book, rather than write your own, is this the freetard in you ? we can all print our own books now (in 3D !!). But few can actually write books.

      so if no one is willing to write books what do you have left to steal ??

      if you want to steal something, you must desire it, and want it, you consider it has value, but not enough value for you to pay for it.. so you feel that you should be able to determine the price (including free) for everything you desire ?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 11:34pm

        Re: Re:

        The fuck does this have to do with piracy, darryl?

        What the hell do you care, anyway? There isn't anything worth pirating in Australia anyway; your entire continent is several years behind in media! And you're PROUD of it, you little uninformed shitstain!

         

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        in_to_the_blue, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 4:35am

        Re: Re:

        .....the frikkety frak are you yodeling on about?

         

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        Cory of PC (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 6:36am

        Re: Re:

        OK, you were funny with your first two lines, but now I'm a little irritated.

        First off, if one can type up a comment, they have the ability to write a book. Sure you need to put effort into writing something longer than a simple comment, but if you can put words down on anything, then it's possible for everyone to write a book. True that not everybody has the ability to tell a good story, but then again not everything has to be fiction. Also if people can write fan-fiction of their favorite (or hated) series and make it like reading a book with multiple chapters, then they can also write a book (I'm a good example as I took my first successful fan-fiction and turn it into a .pdf for people to download and read!)

        Dude, there's always someone out there willing to write books. Even if it's non-fiction, they're still writing!

        So if I were to download a bad movie, that means I desire it? Really I thought I downloaded it just to see why people hate it, not because I really desire to see it and want to own a copy so badly. Really I could discuss how I view about paying for things I downloaded and whatnot, but I don't want to because you'll continue to bash all of us for being a bunch of freeloading pirates who are starving "talented" people (and this is not applying to all, only to those selected few individuals out there) because we're not paying for everything we're downloading off the Net. Your argument stinks.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2012 @ 8:25am

          Re: Re: Re:

          so if it is so easy I guess you written lots of POPULAR books, or some accurate and correct text books ?

          let me guess, that would be no..

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2012 @ 4:39pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Coming from a little turdtwat that can't even hold a coherent thought or sentence in a warehouse, that's rich. Filthy stinking rich.

             

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        MrWilson, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 6:48pm

        Re: Re:

        Who said anything about piracy?

        There's no reason why printing books has anything to do with piracy.

        You know that 500 or so books on my android tablet? I didn't pay for most of them... ::gasp:: ...because they're in the public domain! Should I have to pay someone to print a public domain book? Hell no.

        But there's also no reason why you couldn't pay for a license to print on demand if that tickles your piracy-obsessed fancy.

        This discussion is about physical books and ebooks, not about piracy. The value of a book is not necessarily directly related to its (publisher/retailer-determined) price or its (reality-determined) cost. Some books are more valuable specifically because there is no price in acquiring them and little cost in storing them, such as ebooks of public domain works.

        And if your employers for whom you shill wouldn't fight to make copyright last forever minus a day, there's be a lot more works in the public domain that would become more valuable.

         

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      Tex Arcana (profile), Dec 4th, 2012 @ 6:12pm

      Re:

      500 ebooks. WooOOOooo. And 50 RealBooks(TM). I'm so impressed! :rolleyes:

      I've got about 1000 books, give or take; my wife over 5000; she has about 10-12 ebooks, I about 5. Woooo. Tell me something really impressive.

      I'd rather read a RealBook(TM) because the human eye sees black ink on white page far better than the really shitty WYSIWYG screen simulacrum that ergonomically is far worse for your eyes (white letters on black background is far easier to see and read) than the single-focal-distance of words on a page. Electronic screens (even the Kindle's "e-ink") present the eye with multiple focal points that just induce eyestrain, even in this day of LCD screens; printed paper does not.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 10:42pm

    Dear Andy,

    Older isn't always better. Think dentistry before anesthesia.

    Cordially,
    The Internet

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 11:08pm

    he is not even really talking about books verses ebook for example he is simply saying that much of the "reading material" on the web tends to be open ended, such as techdirt, it had a beginning, but it's open ended, it never draws a conclusion .

    you cant get Techdirt as an EBOOK, it's one of those documents he was referring too.. wheras a book you buy, or download for your ereader, is a complete and finished work..

    MOST of the net, including Techdirt is OPEN ENDED (sadly).

    that was what he was referring too, and possibly that he prefers real book rather than ebooks, (so do it, my MILES)..

    is this yet another case of Masnick's drones confusing ALONGSIDE with ONLY !!!!..

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 12:18am

      Re:

      Stop failing at life.

      Techdirt is open ended to provoke thought. That's generally what opinion blogs do, they don't spell things out for the reader, the reader actually has to think and come to his own conclusions.

      You are obviously to lazy/stupid to think and draw conclusions yourself.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 6:35am

        Re: Re:

        but i did draw conclusions, but I note you did not, so who is the lazy and stupid one ??

        (BTW: it's TOO not to)

         

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      in_to_the_blue, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 4:38am

      Re:

      Masnick's drones


      oh, i see, you where just trying to fill your "MIKE" quote for today...

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 6:39am

        Re: Re:

        I dont have to try at all, he hands tham out, for anyone willing to read (and think).. once again, if you all can do is a personal attack, I know my work here is done.

        we would not like you to actually put up an argument to counter mine, when you cant do that you attack the person..

        you will not I attack the content of Mikes web site, and use what he posts as my argument, it's hard to counter an argument that is what mike either thinks or say, (allows to be posted or posts himself)..

        yes, masnick has him drones, we all know who they are, and we all know their bias (the same as misnicks).

        it's just full the rip the articles apart for the biased spin that they tend to be. but only ever the ones that are biased spin.. that is most (if not all) of them..

         

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          Cory of PC (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 7:03am

          Re: Re: Re:

          So... you want us to do your dirty work for you? Hey, if it keeps you away from the site...!

          Wait, there's more of you? Are they huddling around your computer arguing over who's next to use it? And you sure do know how to argue your point. I'm rooting for you all the way, buddy... (/s)

          *snickers* I really love the grammar here. This is pure troll, all the way! Really, it's hard not laugh when you're trying to be serious and I can't tell what you're trying to say!

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2012 @ 7:50pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          That reading comprehension thing is still escaping you, isn't it? Nothing you've brought to the discussion has anything to do with the article at hand. Try reading it, again, and the linked article it discusses. Go through it slowly, consider everything very carefully, then maybe spend a bit more time actually thinking and forming cogent thoughts on the actual subject matter. Then maybe we will take you more seriously.

           

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            Tex Arcana (profile), Dec 4th, 2012 @ 6:21pm

            Anonymous Coward is... an anonymous coward? :wtf:

            You expect us to take you seriously, and yet you hide behind the A.C. moniker; and then accuse someone else of needing to do something to be taken seriously?

            Hypocrite, much?

             

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      Cory of PC (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 6:55am

      Re:

      I think you missed a point... from what I get from the title, this is about physical vs. digital here, not whether a book finished or not.

      What Piper is trying to say that with a book, you can feel the cover and the pages in your hands and you get to experience turning a page instead of swiping your finger on a screen and reading the text that way.

      ... You just came up with an idea that completely missed the point entirely. Where in this article did it discuss the endings of books and the Internet?

      And how is it sad that TechDirt doesn't end? Even for that matter, why should the Internet have an ending? There needs to be that sort of open-ending to it because people are constantly coming up with new ideas and adding their own mark here on the 'Net. There's no real force out there, physical or digital, that can stop the Internet from expanding. You can't cap the Internet entirely and you can't stop people from adding things. Everything we do expands that open-ending you're worrying about. Heck, commenting is one action!

      But what can I say? I'm a madman trying to explain a silly idea to someone that agrees that physical books are better than e-books.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2012 @ 11:40pm

    "As I begin to read, the kids begin to lean into me. Our bodies assume positions of rest, the book our shared column of support. No matter what advertisers say, this could never be true of the acrobatic screen. As we gradually sink into the floor, and each other, our minds are freed to follow their own pathways, unlike the prescribed pathways of the Web. We read and we drift. “The words of my book nothing,” writes Walt Whitman, “the drift of it everything.”"

    This is some of the most vague, nonsensical prose I've ever read. It's a completely illogical paragraph.

    1) Why can't an electronic book be a "shared column of support", whatever the fuck that even means?
    2) How is your mind less free when reading off a screen? The words are the same, you dimwit!!!!!!!!!
    3) Whitman clearly didn't mean that words don't matter. As a poet, he must have known that they matter a lot. He was simply being poetic.

     

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    Keii (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 12:18am

    So if eBooks aren't real because they're not tangible books, then a parallel would be that Digital Music files aren't real because they're not tangible CDs/Records and Digital Movie files aren't real because they're not tangible DVDs/Blurays... ergo theft isn't real because you're not taking a tangible item and I shouldn't have to give real money.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 6:40am

      Re:

      who said they are not real ??

      your making things up now!

       

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        Cory of PC (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 6:55am

        Re: Re:

        Oh, like your argument above about how Piper was really talking about how books have endings while the Internet doesn't is fact and true. Yeah, I'm sure that Keii's argument is absolute baloney in your eyes.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 9:32am

        Re: Re:

        your making things up now!

        Since you like being the grammar police, as evidenced by you correcting some further up....

        It's you're as in "you are making things up now!" You might want to add that one to your list so you know how to correct us all in another post later. Also, sentences start with capital letters, like this one.

        But, you're just a troll coming here to derail the comments in yet another article. Why don't you concentrate more on making a valid point not laden with vitriol instead of worrying about one misused word.

        Or, just go away.

        I know which one I'd vote for.

         

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    Bergman (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 1:27am

    Since a book exists to be read, does this mean that if someone pirates Mr Piper's works in digital-only format they haven't actually committed a copyright violation, because nobody will ever read it?

     

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    BentFranklin (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 1:34am

    Tim,

    Other than problems with DRM, is there anything about pbooks that you find better than ebooks? One wouldn't think so from reading your article. Doesn't Piper have even one good point?

     

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      Richard (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 7:33am

      Re:

      Doesn't Piper have even one good point?

      How about this one::

      I was visiting my daughter last night
      when I asked if I could borrow a newspaper.

      'This is the 21st century, old man,' she said.
      'We don't waste money on newspapers.
      Here, you can borrow my iPod.'

      I can tell you, that bloody fly never knew what hit it...

       

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      Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 9:36am

      Re:

      Books are better for collecting than ebooks. The rest of his argument seems to be either;
      Conflating various generalised philosophical arguments or unrelated studies on sensory input directly with physical book reading.
      or ;
      Claiming that because the invention of printing allowed easier access to knowledge and therefore advancement and because the most convenient format to hold a bunch of printed pages together is to bind them into a book, that books themselves have some mystical power for learning. Basically the entire middle of his argument seems to be saying "Hey, look at all the stuff learned using books in the last 600 years, we've not learned nearly so much since ebooks were invented and besides most people still use paper books to learn so there."

      It seems to me as rather like arguing that racing drivers today are no where near as good as those of yesteryear because they have all this new-fangled technology to help them not crash at much higher speeds. So no, while he makes some interesting philosophical arguments from one point of view, I don't think he has even one good point since all the points seem ultimately to boil down to "get orf moi lawn!"

       

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        BentFranklin (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 11:38am

        ebooks are not strictly better

        There are still many advantages to pbooks that people don't seem to want to consider, even not considering the nefarious intents of ebook and reader vendors:

        You can have your pbooks in different places, such as on your nightstand, and not have to lug your reader everywhere you go.

        You and your friend can read two of your pbooks without needing two readers.

        You can take a pbook with you as you hike the Appalachian Trail.

        You can use the pages of said pbook in case you run out of toilet paper on the Appalachian Trail.

        You can have two pbooks open at the same time and scan back and forth easily. Try that with ebooks.

        An author can sign a pbook.

        You can write a note to someone inside a pbook's cover when given as a present. My grandfather wrote something nice inside a Bible he gave to my mother when she was young and that Bible is a family treasure now.

        Some people just aren't "screen people" and they don't absorb as much content as they would with a pbook.

        Pbooks can come in different shapes and sizes.

        Pbooks can be children's popup books.

        Pbooks smell nicer, often.

        Cookbooks in the kitchen take a lot of abuse, get splashed, or get touched by dirty hands, and the consequences are limited to just that one pbook.

        You can hollow out the pages of a pbook to store a geologist's hammer that you will use to break out of a fictional Maine prison.

        You can display your favorite pbooks on a shelf, which might stimulate conversations with your friends.

        You can lend pbooks to friends and family members who don't have readers.

         

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          Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 2:52pm

          Re: ebooks are not strictly better

          You can have your pbooks in different places, such as on your nightstand, and not have to lug your reader everywhere you go.
          Hmm, given a reader can weigh less than a paperback, which one counts as "lugging"? Plus, I know not everyone does, but I tend to "lug" my phone everywhere with me whether I'm planning to read or not and that works just fine for reading ebooks.

          You and your friend can read two of your pbooks without needing two readers.
          Except things that can display ebooks (assuming they aren't DRM locked) are pretty much ubiquitous these days - phones, tablets, ebook readers, laptops, computers etc - so increasingly the chances are your friend has an "ebook reader" on their person already so it's just a case of sending a weightless file. I'd call that a score for ebook.

          You can take a pbook with you as you hike the Appalachian Trail.
          And a phone that can store thousands of books as well as work for emergency contact and a solar powered charger for it weigh less than a single book...

          You can use the pages of said pbook in case you run out of toilet paper on the Appalachian Trail.
          That is indeed something you can't do with an ebook, but on the whole I'd prefer not to use the paper of a book anyway.... leaves might be comfier.

          You can have two pbooks open at the same time and scan back and forth easily. Try that with ebooks.
          Limitation of the reader not the book, plus with an ebook reader and a phone on you, yes you can, in fact you can even open the same book to 2 different pages - try that with a paper one without ripping it apart.

          An author can sign a pbook.
          True. On the other hand that's a "collecting" thing, not a reading thing.

          You can write a note to someone inside a pbook's cover when given as a present. My grandfather wrote something nice inside a Bible he gave to my mother when she was young and that Bible is a family treasure now.
          Also true, but again memories are a different thing to reading a book and there's other ways to give memories.

          Some people just aren't "screen people" and they don't absorb as much content as they would with a pbook.
          It's true that active screens tend to make some people's eyes tired looking at them and might reduce "content absorbtion", but applied to e-ink which produces a static "print" little if any different from a printed page, that starts to sound like a "but real books are just different" argument.

          Pbooks can come in different shapes and sizes.
          I can read an e-book on anything from a 4" screen on my phone to my 50" TV and project the thing to giant-size on a handy wall if I want to, and all with the same book. Another point for e-books I'd say.

          Pbooks can be children's popup books.
          E-books can be "enhanced reality".

          Pbooks smell nicer, often.
          Yes. Another collecting thing rather than a reading thing.

          Cookbooks in the kitchen take a lot of abuse, get splashed, or get touched by dirty hands, and the consequences are limited to just that one pbook.
          If it's that important, project the recipe onto the kitchen wall where you can read it much easier while you work and it can't get destroyed at all. If your e-book reader does happen to get destroyed in an accident, you don't lose your one copy of your favorite recipe. A backup of even a large library of e-books takes up little space.

          You can hollow out the pages of a pbook to store a geologist's hammer that you will use to break out of a fictional Maine prison.
          True, that's tricky with an e-book reader but you could always use the other fictional standby of baking a file inside a cake. On the other hand if you're a fictional bomber I understand the dense electrics in something like an e-book reader offer much better camouflage than paper. Besides the hammer thing only works if you've got a really big poster of Raquel Welch.

          You can display your favorite pbooks on a shelf, which might stimulate conversations with your friends.
          Actually almost a good point, on the other hand these days posting your library listing on a social networking site performs much the same function. Failing that I suppose you could always mention to your friends in the course of normal conversation what you happen to be reading at the time... or say how great it is that you have this new ebook reader and isn't it great that I've got the complete works of this new author I've found in it - wanna borrow them?

          You can lend pbooks to friends and family members who don't have readers.
          You already covered that, and again how many of them don't now or won't soon have a phone at least. And with e-books, even if you're a stickler for obeying the letter of copyright law, you don't lose your book if they forget to return it.

          Are e-books better? I guess it depends it begs the question "better at what?", but if you're talking about what I'd define as the purpose of reading - i.e. visually extracting meaning from text - then yes, loads better. If you're talking about momentos, or collectables or other peripheral uses of books then no they're not, but there's tons of other things that do those jobs and there's no reason you can't still create and use paper books for that purpose. People still make swords as collectables or for sports when it's been quite a while since they were a major weapon of war...

           

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            PaulT (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 2:07am

            Re: Re: ebooks are not strictly better

            "Are e-books better? I guess it depends it begs the question "better at what?""

            Yeah, that's how I see it. Neither format is inherently better than the other overall but some people place different values on different aspects. Sure, an ebook isn't as good for putting on a display shelf or retaining value over a period of time, but I know which I'd rather be carrying around in my hand luggage for a long trip. It's the same argument as other formats - yeah, vinyl might be a better sounding format than MP3 all said and done, but I'd struggle to listen to my vinyl on a bus or access it through the cloud, and my back thanks me if I try DJing a party with my laptop instead of lugging record cases around.

            Do paper-based books have value, some of which can't be replicated by an ebook? Of course! But, ebooks also have advantages that can't be replicated by a paper book. It's down to your own tastes and needs, and the fact is that many people find that ebooks suit their needs better.

             

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      Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 3:07pm

      Re:

      Other than problems with DRM, is there anything about pbooks that you find better than ebooks? One wouldn't think so from reading your article. Doesn't Piper have even one good point?

      If Piper had any good points, he buried them under a ton of words. There are certain books I own that I'm glad I have in physical form. ("House of Leaves" comes to mind, especially as the formatting in that book would be an unreal nightmare on an ereader. On the other hand, wading in and out of the lengthy footnotes might be easier.)

      I saw this comment earlier today and thought about it. I can't really come up with much more than sentimental reasons for having some books in physical form, speaking solely for myself. I have a few keepsakes that I'd never part with in the couple hundred books I have, but every time I move (and it's been a LOT over the last couple of decades), I feel much less sentimental with every box of books I carry.

      I don't think ebooks are SUPERIOR to physical books. To each his own. But I also don't think, like Piper does, that there's an emotional significance to the printed word that evaporates the moment it changes to digital form.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 3:32am

    Mr. Andrew Piper can have his books with real pages to turn and feel, I will just read the electronic versions.

    As long as he doesn't try to create or support mandatory rules, he is free to do whatever he likes.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 3:33am

    Jeez! where do these people get off? an idiot could come up with better excuses than this guy!

     

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    AG Wright (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 3:34am

    Ebooks for some are better

    My vision is limited. An Ebook's text can be enlarged to a point that I can read it with comfort. A physical book is stuck with whatever font size the publisher decided to use in the first place.
    I poked around the other day and found an Ebook of an old childhood favorite, that I didn't have a "real" copy of and sat down with my grandson. Guess what. He leaned into me and the computer and listened as I read that old favorite.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 6:47am

      Re: Ebooks for some are better

      yes, true, no one here or the person commented on in this article takes issue with what you are saying..

      so ebooks are better for you,,, good for you..

      It does not matter what is better for whom, what matters is you have a choice. no one from this article is attacking ebooks, or physical books..

      that is the TD spin at work.

      I prefer to lay on the beach than working, does not mean I lie on the beach all day and never work.

      next time you have a long blackout, and have no electricity you might see then how effective real paper books are over digital media, no amount of screen resizing will help you if you ereader how no power to run it.

      but I can light a candle and read a real book all I like, and in the daytime I dont even need a candle !

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 6:49am

      Re: Ebooks for some are better

      yes, true, no one here or the person commented on in this article takes issue with what you are saying..

      so ebooks are better for you,,, good for you..

      It does not matter what is better for whom, what matters is you have a choice. no one from this article is attacking ebooks, or physical books..

      that is the TD spin at work.

      I prefer to lay on the beach than working, does not mean I lie on the beach all day and never work.

      next time you have a long blackout, and have no electricity you might see then how effective real paper books are over digital media, no amount of screen resizing will help you if you ereader how no power to run it.

      but I can light a candle and read a real book all I like, and in the daytime I dont even need a candle !

       

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    Judith lindenau, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 3:46am

    pied Piper

    Where's your sense of humor? Piper's article is really a Modest Proposal, and he is Jonathan Swift, writing a satire analogus to a remedy of dining on small children. It's all a JOKE......isn't it?

     

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    Judith lindenau, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 3:49am

    pied Piper

    Where's your sense of humor? Piper's article is really a Modest Proposal, and he is Jonathan Swift, writing a satire analogus to a remedy of dining on small children. It's all a JOKE......isn't it?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 4:07am

    Somebody should smack that guy on the head with an e-reader.....you know, just to give him a sense of its physical reality.

     

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    in_to_the_blue, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 4:41am

    this backwards goofball reminds me of the uptight writing teacher in "Gentlemen Broncos", i can just imagine them sounding the same too

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 4:53am

    > "Most people call them ebooks."

    I just call them "books", unless I need to differentiate between them and a paper book.

     

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 5:36am

    Basis of an argument?

    In the linked article, Piper claims:
    Aristotle regarded touch as the most elementary sense. It is how we begin to make our way in the world, to map it, measure it, and make sense of it.
    I could be wrong, but AFIAK the first most developed sense is in fact
    taste, not touch, which is why babies put everything in their mouths to start with.
    'Course, you might argue that supports his claim since paper books are generally tastier than plastic...

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 6:32am

      Re: Basis of an argument?

      it's actually sight..

       

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        Cory of PC (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 6:48am

        Re: Re: Basis of an argument?

        I thought it was hearing...

         

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        Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 8:32am

        Re: Re: Basis of an argument?

        Newborn sight is fixed focus at short range and they don't fully learn to track or focus on objects for several weeks, they're also initially not good at colour vision and respond better to high contrast.

        When I said taste, I more meant that I'd heard the most developed nerves on a newborn are in the mouth, hence the "tasting" everything. It might make the Aristotle quote true as that might count as "touching with your mouth", but I don't think that was what Mr Piper had in mind since not many people I know suck on books...

         

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    Lesath (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 7:15am

    Guess I should delete the 81 books I've read over the past year and a half on my Xoom.

     

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    Howard West, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 7:48am

    Still prefer pbooks

    I can accept some of what he is saying. I'm on the fence myself. I have a Kindle but vastly prefer a "real" book, probably for Luddite reasons. I particularly miss the sense of physical progress I have as my bookmarks proceed toward and past the center of a bound volume.

    Ebooks still have a way to go. I'd say they bear the same relationship to pbooks that audio cassettes did to LPs. Some added convenience, and some utility lost, like requiring serial access versus effective random access on an LP or a book. I'm waiting for the ebook equivalent of the CD to come along,

     

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      PaulT (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 2:34am

      Re: Still prefer pbooks

      That's fine - personal preference is still a valid metric for you to judge what something is worth to you, and nobody can question that. The problem comes if you try to pretend that your taste is the only thing that matters and that people who honestly prefer ebooks are "wrong" or that they're not "real reading", etc.

      Personally, for me it depends on the type of book. A standard novel that I'd previously have bought for a couple of quid, read once then sold or left to rot in a box? eBooks are a better substitute (if priced low enough so that the loss of resale value is irrelevant, of course). But, I still enjoy having larger "coffee table" books in print form, especially those with high re-readability or particularly nice looking artwork in their pages. However, that just means that for me a print book has become more of a luxury commodity, while the ebook is my preferred method for day-to-day reading.

      If someone thinks the opposite, so be it - just don't try telling me I'm "wrong" because our tastes differ.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 7:48am

    Eh, your smartassery towards the end seems to have overlooked a few good points in favor of sarcasm. I'd hesitate to use the phrase "more real" when describing a play vs a movie, but it's hard to deny that a live show (Be it a play or music or live game, or what have you) has something that a televised counterpart does not. I can't watch sports on TV, but take me to hockey game? Hell yea! MTV when they played music? It was good. Live concert? Hell yea! The fact that you're there for it, live, provides a much different and usually better experience for most folks.

    Of course, that doesn't really counter your overall point. Just because a play is more of an experience than a movie doesn't mean movies are worthless. Everyone can't make it to the game they want to see. I can't hit every live concert I want. I can't catch most movies I want to watch as a play (and who'd want to watch most SFX heavy movies as a play anyways?).

    As far as the direct topic itself, book vs ebook...well, I'd agree with Piper's sentiment, if not his vociferous opposition to the alternative. A real book is just better to read. Pity I can't get a real book, paper pages and all, that could just automagically have all my books in it. Until that happens, I'm afraid ebooks are the future. The ability to carry a freaking library with you by far trumps the experience of a book. And you know what? If you're that desperate for the experience of a book, how about going to the book store and picking up a book? It's not like all books ever made are about to wink out of existence after all.

     

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      techflaws (profile), Dec 2nd, 2012 @ 2:40am

      Re:

      but it's hard to deny that a live show (Be it a play or music or live game, or what have you) has something that a televised counterpart does not

      Right, so it's different but not necessarily better. Which is what Piper claims to be true for books vs ebooks (and where his wrong).

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 8:34am

    "People diss mp3s for their sonic limitations, which is fine, but then they go a step further, claiming the "real" way to listen to music involves using other, older technology."


    Possibly because that older medium was not subjected to what has become known as the loudness war. I doubt many of those same critics would object to a digital lossless reproduction without all that dynamic range reduction silliness. Besides, old crap has a certain streampunk appeal. Many people restore antiques simply because they like to and there is big difference between a luddite and an aficionado.

     

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    Dionaea (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 8:48am

    Ebooks not physical enough?

    How's that possible? "Real" books are just waaaaay too physical. Do you have any idea how much the 'real' version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows weighs?! Like I'm going to carry that around.

     

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    herodotus (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 8:52am

    Is making fun of people who don't like digital technology...

    the main function of Techdirt these days?

    I mean, you could easily do this sort of thing forever. There are hundreds of writers who don't understand or like digital technology.

    I'm sure that it's fun feeling clever at the expense of the technologically ignorant, but isn't it sort of sophomoric to do it so regularly?

     

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      That One Guy (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 11:18am

      Re: Is making fun of people who don't like digital technology...

      Actually I think it was intentionally padded out, so it weighs enough to be usable as a club if someone starts harassing you for reading 'satanic, witchcraft filled books'.

       

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        That One Guy (profile), Dec 2nd, 2012 @ 12:08pm

        Re: Re: Is making fun of people who don't like digital technology...

        For any confused by this apparently random reply, this comment was supposed to be in reply to the 'Ebooks not physical enough?' post above.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2012 @ 8:36am

      Re: Is making fun of people who don't like digital technology...

      yes, it is even too low for TD, it's gone way downhill recently.. seems they are not even making an effort.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2012 @ 4:45pm

        Re: Re: Is making fun of people who don't like digital technology...

        And you keep coming back, darryl! Why's some brainless hick from down under bother anyway? You're not even legally allowed to own half the culture the world has where you're from, and you're even PROUD of it!

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 10:11am

    Mr. Piper is not complaining about living in a house

    and Mr. Piper is not moving into a dirt-floor cave

     

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    MahaliaShere, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 10:30am

    Keep in mind that that article is an excerpt from one of his books, available in hardcover and kindle format. This is why the words of traditionally published authors have very little meaning to me. Controversy to sell books, nose firmly in the air.

    If this were an author of fiction, contracted with one of the big six soon to be big three, I would take him even less seriously than I do now. Words don't matter so much as the fact that you're still under contract, and that publisher will do what it wants to do. Yes, there is a valid concern that if all the electricity goes, there goes our access to digital, but in the mean time, you're still happy to make money off of those who value digital.

     

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    Old Fool (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 11:44am

    Enter your zip code here

    Vinyl simply does sound better - especially through a valve amp, but it is the greasy fingermarks and scratches that prevent me from using them much (I do have old vinyl and equipment). So I almost always use Winamp for my music.

    Factual books are WAY better on a reader, but seriously - you cannot beat curling up to a fictional paper book (unless it is so dog-eared it's falling apart).

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2012 @ 8:38am

      Re: Enter your zip code here

      "Vinyl simply does sound better" to you, that is your personal preference.

      for some it does not. same with books.

      I think TD has done yet another disservice to it's readers by picking low hanging fruit, with no substance. and making comments on personal preferences and trying to make it out as something it clearly is not.

      time will tell if TD can sink any lower, I expect so.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2012 @ 4:43pm

        Re: Re: Enter your zip code here

        Low-hanging fruit? Bitch please, darryl. We all know how your ilk loves to claim that we don't need things like high-speed Internet and the only ones who need it must be pirates. Same thing was said about storage media and computers.

        This is technology that people have legally purchased. Going all "Haters gon' hate" and pushing the case for why people shouldn't have them is a thoroughly ridiculous stance. (I'm lookin' at you, out_of_the_asscrack.) But hey - you wouldn't understand this even if it was steamrolled into you until it left a tattoo on that shitspace you call a skull.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 12:24pm

    Bah you kids today...

    "Writing an email can't possibly compare to the physical purity of placing quill to parchment and hand-scratching a lengthy URL onto it"

    If you're not periodically smashing your thumb as you pound chisel into stone you're taking the easy way out. Wimps.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 1:26pm

    I think I'll read his book on my Kindle. I sure it doesn't open a portal to hell.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 7:23pm

    Why do you care that some guy is dissing ebooks? His opinion that reading ebooks "doesn't count" is easily dismissed and ignored. Why bring attention and import to his ramblings by going to the trouble to "counter" them?

    That said, I prefer real books over virtual books because books are easier on the eyes than a screen. The computer is fine for short passages and articles, but if I want to read a novel I'll grab a paper book.

    No matter how popular computers and the internet get, there will always be a place for paper.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 8:53pm

    For me it's simple. I can have a thousand books on a solid state device and/or harddrive. Can I leave it sitting for two years without "touching it" or moving it to a "better (more up to date storage medium)storage medium", and then access it in less than ten seconds. I don't really think so. Assuming the computer and book are both "off", I can be across the room and into my first chapter before the computer awakes. Yes tablets may be quicker but my book isn't dependent upon 1000's of electronic components to keep working and didn't cost me hundreds of dollars. If I drop it I pick it up, I don't panic. If it gets wet I wipe it open the pages and let them dry.

     

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    trollificus (profile), Dec 1st, 2012 @ 9:34pm

    "Amid the seemingly endless debates today about the future of reading, there remains one salient, yet often overlooked fact: Reading isn’t only a matter of our brains; it’s something that we do with our bodies."

    Apparently, the rhetorical tactic of just stating things as true and moving on (as opposed to actually, you know, demonstrating through experiment or proving through logical argumentation) works as well in digital media as on paper, parchment or papyrus-which is to say: not at all.

    As does simple refutation: "No, it isn't, Mr. Piper."

     

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    Dazza, Dec 1st, 2012 @ 11:24pm

    You don't own an ebook!

    The problem with ebooks etc is they are too clinical. No real feel,or character; and staring at a screen for hours on end is a lot harsher than reading from good print.
    Secondly you don't own the ebook. You can't lend it to a friend, or share it with others as such. Can't leave an ebook for your grand kids etc, or get a signed message from the author on the inside cover etc.
    Ebooks are just mass produced consumer items, may be cheaper but the quality shows in the content.
    Ebooks are fine for non fictional technical or informative type reading. Reference material etc, but not for a good story to get lost in.
    The printed word as such is becoming a lost art!

     

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      Dionaea (profile), Dec 2nd, 2012 @ 5:56am

      You don't if you're stupid enough to buy with DRM

      So when you go to a store you buy a random book with a very pretty cover and nice thick paper because that gives it 'feel' and 'character'?

      "staring at a screen for hours on end is a lot harsher than reading from good print"

      Have you ever heard of a odd little thing known as an "e-reader with an e-ink screen"? My eyes never hurt when reading from mine, nor do my wrists, since they don't have to hold an overweight print edition.

      And your second point is more of a problem with publishers and copyright than with e-books. I own all the public domain and pirated e-books on my reader, I can give them to all my friends. And guess what? They don't have to return em either!

      And printing is an ART? It may have been in the time of Gutenberg, but now it's just a push of a button. A lot of what goes before the printing may be an art, but the printing itself most certainly is not. Perhaps you should try the new Gutenberg, PROJECT Gutenberg, you know, the site where you can legally download lots of DRM free public domain books at no charge? Or are you gonna tell me that Sherlock Holmes and poems by Robert Frost are bad quality content?

       

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      PaulT (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 2:45am

      Re: You don't own an ebook!

      "You don't own an ebook!"

      I didn't own any of the library books I borrowed either, nor the books I borrowed from friends (a.k.a. about 80-90% of the books I read as a kid). I guess I wasn't actually reading then...

      "Ebooks are just mass produced consumer items"

      ..and paperbacks aren't?

      "may be cheaper but the quality shows in the content."
      "but not for a good story to get lost in."

      Does the story magically change between the hardback version of a book being printed and its ebook version? Does it somehow get rewritten as an inferior novel just to piss people off? I must have missed something there...

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2012 @ 8:07am

    I read ebooks with regularity. I do not know what the big deal is. Each time is read a page that contains an important point I place an annotated Post-it a the top of the screen. I also regularly use a highlighter on the screen calling attention to important passages. Furthermore, whenever I find somethin misspelled I cover it with White-Out, and then fill in the correct spelling.

    I do miss the tactile feeling of physical pages, but the above fairly well overcomes many of the limitations associated with electronic copies of pages.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2012 @ 8:42am

    "I do not know what the big deal is"....

    that is because there IS none, there is no issue here, no real point, it is just a spin article, based on someone's personal preference for something, made out to be something it is not.

    typical of the (poor) quality of this web site.

    lift your game TD, your looking desperate.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2012 @ 4:44pm

      Re:

      And yet you keep coming back to it, darryl, like a little housefly drawn to honey. At some point someone will be swatting that fly and put you out of your recursively dimwitted misery.

       

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    Mega1987 (profile), Dec 2nd, 2012 @ 8:45am

    Sir Andrew Piper, if turning a page of a 1k+ page book is reading, you don't mind carrying that kind of book around to read it? Especially the encyclopedia sized books to read them up?

    Is that reading something that's not a page of a book is not reading?

    then how about those poor children in the slums and/or rural places. you say they're not learning how to read because they're not turning a page of a book? Especially those from very isolated locations where books are quite a luxury items to have?

    If that so, then you are not only denying easy access to reading materials to those who can't get to a library and book-out a book, but also saying that those poor people from those isolated areas that don't even have a library as uneducated ones....

    Jeez... thanks for your "outstanding" enlightenment...

    Can I eat a Cheeseburger and play a very load J-Pop music while you read your 1k+ encyclopedia size book, mate?

     

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    pjcamp, Dec 2nd, 2012 @ 11:24am

    You don't own it

    so someday Amazon will accidentally revoke your ebook and there will be nothing you can do about it.

    My paper books, on the other hand, belong exclusively to me and Amazon can't turn them off remotely.

    No DRM. Score one for paper.

     

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      PaulT (profile), Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 3:22am

      Re: You don't own it

      You do know that DRM-free books exist, and that Amazon don't have a monopoly on readers, right?

       

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        Tex Arcana (profile), Dec 4th, 2012 @ 5:55pm

        Re: Re: You don't own it

        Doesn't matter. Amazon could create a root kit to sniff out all non-DRM ebooks that were bought from them, and have them erased or inject DRM into the code and render them a hunk of worthless electro-magnetic-bits.

        The only way Amazon is getting ahold of my RealBook(TM), is to break into my house, or set it on fire. And either way, I'm suing them int the ground for trespassing and arson and endangerment. Not to mention destroying my books.

         

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