Enjoy the blog except for the whole me-dispensing-advice thing? Wish I’d can it so you could talk freely to your fellow writers in the comment section? Well, you’re in luck. Every Wednesday (weather permitting), I’m going to have a feature called You Tell Me, where, after I get verklempt, I’ll introduce a topic for you to discuss amongst yourselves.
Today’s topic: Random House is neither random nor a house. Discuss. (just kidding)
Actually, today’s topic involves technology.
For many years now the publishing industry has been waiting for the e-book format to take off, believing that technological innovations in other entertainment venues would make that whole paper thing obsolete. So far it hasn’t — e-books still represent a tiny fraction of overall book sales, and the vast majority of book sales are still of the ink and paper variety.
But things are changing. Slowly. The audiobook market, for instance, has seen significant growth in downloadable audio. And this past fall Sony rolled out its Sony Reader, a digital book thingamajig that is readable from all angles, even in the sun, and can hold like a gajillion books. E-books haven’t taken off, but as the technology improves, will we prize convenience over tradition?
So…… IN THIS CORNER, weighing in at nine ounces is Plastic, the “Digital Demon.” The thingamajig contains every book that you’ve ever wanted to read in your entire life. The screen is as readable as paper, displaying crisp graphics that are readable in any light (including darkness). No more lugging around books. No more booklights. No more hurting your shoulder carrying textbooks. It’s light, it’s portable, it’s convenient. It’s like the iPod, only with books. Is it the future?
And IN THIS CORNER, weighing in at, uh, lots of pounds, is Paper, aka “Papryus From King Cyrus.” It makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something when you’ve turned the pages. You can fill up a bookshelf, use it as a paperweight, cut out the pages to hide a small pickaxe so you can crawl through a river of shit and come out clean on the other side. Is old new again?
Who. Will. Win.
Discuss amongst yourselves.