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From the Atlantic:

What would happen if, through growing market share and broad generational adoption, the Kindle were to supplant the bound book? For me the significance of this is not whether people end up reading more or less, or even a matter of what they read. At issue is the deep-structure of the activity. My fear is that as Wikipedia is to information, so will the Kindle become to literature and the humanities: a one-stop outlet, a speedy and irresistibly efficient leveler of context.


http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200903u/amazon-kindle
 

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This isn't the first time it happened.
 

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The implication here seems to be that literature is not just the words as composed by the author to tell a story or evoke thought and feeling but rather it is also the medium that the words are printed on. I am not sure I can agree with this premise.

Is a work by Poe, Dickens, or Shakespear any less of a work of literature because it is read on an electronic device?  I don't see that it is. Some books are works of art themselves. If we think back to the illuminated texts produced by the churches with gold leaf and beautiful color illustrations, those books were works of art in addition to the knowledge or information that the text themselves provided. I wonder if the same discussions occurred when the first printing presses were being used.

Regardless, as we move forward digital distribution of information will continue. Printed books will not go away for quite some time but I think it is inevitable that the prevailing method of literature will eventually be digit.

Just my .02...
 

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GeorgeGlass said:
From the Atlantic:

What would happen if, through growing market share and broad generational adoption, the Kindle were to supplant the bound book? For me the significance of this is not whether people end up reading more or less, or even a matter of what they read. At issue is the deep-structure of the activity. My fear is that as Wikipedia is to information, so will the Kindle become to literature and the humanities: a one-stop outlet, a speedy and irresistibly efficient leveler of context.


http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200903u/amazon-kindle
I'm not smart enough to understand what the author is getting at... It's bad that all kinds of books can be found in one place? Like, say, a library? If people don't have to work to find a book, it's not worth reading?

Betsy
 

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To me it not the format of the book that matters, be it hardback, audio, paperback, t2s or ebook, it the story that in the book that matters.  it the story that has the power to move us, to cry to laugh and so on.
 

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In my opinion a good book stands on it's own. It doesn't matter what medium it's available on.  The experience may be slightly different but I don't think it takes away from reading.  I think they should rather be excited about people having the power to access hundreds of thousands of books from literally anywhere.  It's people who are so close minded and set in their ways that are the problem not the Kindle.
 

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I think this is just "Back in My Day...!" posturing.

I actually think more people using Kindle will lead to MORE reading of "classics," since many of them are in the public domain, and therefore "free."

I know if I'm slim on cash when I go book shopping, classics are a good place to go. That's why Call of the Wild is my next read :)
 

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jeremy81 said:
In my opinion a good book stands on it's own. It doesn't matter what medium it's available on. The experience may be slightly different but I don't think it takes away from reading. I think they should rather be excited about people having the power to access hundreds of thousands of books from literally anywhere. It's people who are so close minded and set in their ways that are the problem not the Kindle.
Jeremy

That what I was trying to say, you said it a whole lot better then I could thank you. ;D
 

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akjak said:
I actually think more people using Kindle will lead to MORE reading of "classics," since many of them are in the public domain, and therefore "free."
That's definitely true for me. Classics are what I've mostly been reading, since I had already downloaded a few free from Feedbooks before I got my Kindle so they were ready to go when it arrived. I definitely wouldn't have sought them out otherwise.
 

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With that kind of thinking, maybe books were only truly literature when the monks in the 1300s hand copied a book to make another.  Does that make true literature, not this mass marketed machine printed nonsense. The touch of the quill pen must make for true literature. Forget about the words, its the format that makes it real. In fact, why even use the internet and a computer. An abacus and manual typewriter with carbon paper should do fine.
 

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GeorgeGlass said:
From the Atlantic:

My fear is that as Wikipedia is to information, so will the Kindle become to literature and the humanities: a one-stop outlet, a speedy and irresistibly efficient leveler of context.
What jumped at me was this; perhaps the author meant that with the ease of electronic publishing, the sheer amount of literary junkfood available will explode. I don't see a problem with that; not everyone enjoys literary novels, but I do see where a cumulative amount of works that probably would be best left in the bottom of one's desk drawer filtering into the market could lend to the overall dumbing down of readers.
 

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There is already a glut of literary trash on the market, and I don't think the ease of electronic publishing will increase that. There are always going to be quality books, and rubbish books, no matter the format.
 

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Yes, no doubt a lot of stuff will be published that, under other circumstances, would never make it to print.  A lot of it may have been better left unprinted. 

On the other hand, publishers aren't perfect.  They do pass on books that really should have been printed, and most of their decisions have to be based on profit, not "literary worthiness".  If only a few good/great books make it out as EBooks that otherwise would have never been published, in my opinion it's well worth it. 
 

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I've got a library of 145 classics, 12 current fiction books, two newspapers, five reference books, the bible (both the King James and the 365-day version) and the Koran on my kindle.  While the Atlantic may be correct that change is on the horizon for bound books, the easy access to incredible amounts of literature and information have opened a door for me.  There will always be those who resist change and cling to the past, however, the world moves on.  And I'm part of that latter group, loving my Kindle.

Happy reading!
 

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Bibliophile said:
I've got a library of 145 classics, 12 current fiction books, two newspapers, five reference books, the bible (both the King James and the 365-day version) and the Koran on my kindle. While the Atlantic may be correct that change is on the horizon for bound books, the easy access to incredible amounts of literature and information have opened a door for me. There will always be those who resist change and cling to the past, however, the world moves on. And I'm part of that latter group, loving my Kindle.

Happy reading!
I agree!
 

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I sense a veiled snootiness in that "deep structure of the activity" crack. What the hell does that mean? That you can't think deeply about what you read in an electronic format? That it can't affect your life? Hogwash.

It's common for people to be attached to the things they grew up with, and a short step from that to nostalgia, "ou sont les nieges d'antan?" and all that. That's what I sense in that excerpt.

I will admit I've noted a personal difference between e-books and DTBs. Here's a recent example. Two young people of my acquaintance are thinking of becoming engaged--two people no one would ever have connected, one a lovely, intelligent woman who's broken the hearts of eligible hunks for years, and the other a solid, plain man who thought (I'm guessing) that romance had passed him by and he'd be a bachelor the rest of his years. It reminded me of a novel I'd read years ago...what was it? Ah! I remembered! I hunted on my shelves briefly and found it, a nice paperback, and flipped through it, sampling here and there with pleasure, having forgotten what a fine writer the author was. I was right: it's the story of another highly improbable match, and a book I think I'll read again.

Had I had that book on my Kindle, I suppose it would still be in my Amazon archive if not my K2, but it would have been hard to get the feel of it again as I did with the actual book, to remember my original delight in reading it.

I doubt that's "deep structure activity," but it is a difference, to me at least, between e-books and DTBs. Phooey on that "deep structure" nonsense.

By the way, here's the book, NOT Kindle, unfortunately, but a wonderful story:

 

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I read the linked article and for the life of me the argument simply does not resonate with me.

From the article:

But these structures evolved over centuries in ways that map our collective endeavor to understand and express our world. The book is part of a system. And that system stands for the labor and taxonomy of human understanding, and to touch a book is to touch that system, however lightly.
I cannot recall ever considering, for even a moment, the infrastructure (and more importantly the history) associated with publishing and how it impacts and informs the work that I am reading. Some nebulous tie to the past does not enrich my reading experience in the slightest.

- Walter...
 
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