How eBooks lost their shine: ‘Kindles now look clunky and unhip’

Books as objects of desire: photographs by Jennifer Cownie.

Excerpt from this article:

Here are some things that you can’t do with a Kindle. You can’t turn down a corner, tuck a flap in a chapter, crack a spine (brutal, but sometimes pleasurable) or flick the pages to see how far you have come and how far you have to go. You can’t remember something potent and find it again with reference to where it appeared on a right- or left-hand page. You often can’t remember much at all. You can’t tell whether the end is really the end, or whether the end equals 93% followed by 7% of index and/or questions for book clubs. You can’t pass it on to a friend or post it through your neighbour’s door…

Another thing that has happened is that books have become celebrated again as objects of beauty. They are coveted in their own right, while ebooks, which are not things of beauty, have become more expensive; a new digital fiction release is often only a pound or two cheaper than a hardback. “Part of the positive pressure that digital has exerted on the industry is that publishers have rediscovered their love of the physical,”

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On the Declining eBook Reading Experience

eBooks

Excerpt from this article (thought this was a good one, as a big advocate of real books):

When reports came out last month about declining ebook sales, many reasons were offered up, from higher pricing to the resurgence of bookstores to more efficient distribution of paper books to increased competition from TV’s continued renaissance, Facebook, Snapchat, and an embarrassment of #longread riches. What I didn’t hear a whole lot about was how the experience of reading ebooks and paper books compared, particularly in regard to the Kindle’s frustrating reading experience not living up to its promise. What if people are reading fewer ebooks because the user experience of ebook reading isn’t great?

Luckily, Craig Mod has stepped into this gap with a piece asking why digital books have stopped evolving. As Mod notes, paper books still beat out digital ones in many ways and the industry (i.e. Amazon) hasn’t made much progress in addressing them.

In a Mother’s Library, Bound in Spirit and in Print

Excerpt from this article:

After the will reading, my older sister sweetly offered to share my mother’s library. I gratefully accepted. And then a few weeks later, while my younger sister was going through our mother’s personal belongings, she came across something she thought I might like.

I stared at the message and thought about the irony of the endless debates I had with my mother. Now that she was gone, all I cared about were her physical books.

Yes, as a technology columnist, I have become acutely aware of technology’s built-in expiration date. Kindles, iPhones and those new smartwatches are designed to become outdated, and quickly. Technology is about the future, not the past.

When I got rid of my CDs for an iPod, I never looked back. As VHS tapes turned to DVDs and later streaming services, I didn’t think twice about the lost physical objects — rather, I rejoiced in their disappearance.

But books, I now understand, are entirely different.