Category: Books and technology

Sticking with paper and ink

EBooks are all the rage these days with the Amazon Kindle, the Sony eReader and the iPad all trying to jostle to catch the eye of the next generation of readers who are happy to read off electronic paper.

I liked to believe I was potentially one of them. Maybe still could be with the right technology. But the experience of trying to read The Canal on an iPhone screen has proved to be too much for me.

Having got to page 59 I am now printing it out in batches of 50 pages. There is nothing wrong with the book being sent in PDF form and nothing wrong with the book. If anything it’s getting better the more you get into it. But the technology has let me down so it’s back to paper and ink again for now at least.

Could Amazon rekindle the electronic platform?

Forgot to post the link to an interesting piece in the Telegraph yesterday by A.N.Wilson in response to the launch of Amazon’s Kindle. The Kindle, which I have also neglected to post about is Amazon’s ebook reader. Apparently it can do the same for reading that the iPod has done for music. Hold on though isn’t that exactly the line that Sony spun when it launched its eReader product earlier this year?

Wilson is right about one thing which is that the book is such a good design it is hard to top it with an electronic version:

“The book, in codex shape, really was a brilliant invention. And after the century of Gutenberg and Caxton there really was no looking back.”

It is a point that has been made before and one no doubt that will be raised in the future when the next ebook reader is launched…

Could Amazon rekindle the electronic platform?

Forgot to post the link to an interesting piece in the Telegraph yesterday by A.N.Wilson in response to the launch of Amazon’s Kindle. The Kindle, which I have also neglected to post about is Amazon’s ebook reader. Apparently it can do the same for reading that the iPod has done for music. Hold on though isn’t that exactly the line that Sony spun when it launched its eReader product earlier this year?

Wilson is right about one thing which is that the book is such a good design it is hard to top it with an electronic version:

“The book, in codex shape, really was a brilliant invention. And after the century of Gutenberg and Caxton there really was no looking back.”

It is a point that has been made before and one no doubt that will be raised in the future when the next ebook reader is launched…

weekend paper round up

Yesterday was not the best but there was an interesting piece in The Guardian about the way that technology is changing the way we read books by self-confessed book lover Andrew Marr. In an article that came up with a lot of the traditional responses to ebook readers Marr threw in a criticism not only of the technology, he pointed out that page turning was too slow, but the experience of using something that was clean and fresh compared to books which are often old, worn and treasured possessions. He also mentioned the obvious that books are so well designed that it is hard for technology to come along and make a difference.

Other things that stood out in the papers today were a piece in The Independent about the movie that is being made about Dylan Thomas. Naturally when you could focus on the poet’s work and writing process what apparently is the main content of The Edge of Love focuses on the love triangle between his wife and a childhood friend. The hidden message is that if you ever want to become a writer that has a reputation that lives on beyond death, write some good prose or poetry but importantly try to develop some sort of twisted love life.

The Independent also has a piece about the fight to save the Karl Marx Memorial Library from takeover. Quite what the father of communism would think of the battle for the library is hard to guess.

Apart from that it has been incredibly frustrating I was half way through the title story in Salinger’s For Esme with Love and Squalor before the doorbell rang and my youngest child – who is still refusing to cooperate on this issue – decided that because I had not been reading a Star Wars book mine deserved to be taken and hidden. As a result there will not be any posts on that today.

Hopefully more reading tomorrow…

weekend paper round up

Yesterday was not the best but there was an interesting piece in The Guardian about the way that technology is changing the way we read books by self-confessed book lover Andrew Marr. In an article that came up with a lot of the traditional responses to ebook readers Marr threw in a criticism not only of the technology, he pointed out that page turning was too slow, but the experience of using something that was clean and fresh compared to books which are often old, worn and treasured possessions. He also mentioned the obvious that books are so well designed that it is hard for technology to come along and make a difference.

Other things that stood out in the papers today were a piece in The Independent about the movie that is being made about Dylan Thomas. Naturally when you could focus on the poet’s work and writing process what apparently is the main content of The Edge of Love focuses on the love triangle between his wife and a childhood friend. The hidden message is that if you ever want to become a writer that has a reputation that lives on beyond death, write some good prose or poetry but importantly try to develop some sort of twisted love life.

The Independent also has a piece about the fight to save the Karl Marx Memorial Library from takeover. Quite what the father of communism would think of the battle for the library is hard to guess.

Apart from that it has been incredibly frustrating I was half way through the title story in Salinger’s For Esme with Love and Squalor before the doorbell rang and my youngest child – who is still refusing to cooperate on this issue – decided that because I had not been reading a Star Wars book mine deserved to be taken and hidden. As a result there will not be any posts on that today.

Hopefully more reading tomorrow…

The web benefits

There is an interesting argument made in the Guardian today by Victor Keegan about the technological impact on books. The point seems to be that it is all for the good that volumes that are out of copyright, rarely read and very difficult to obtain are now going to be made available. Keegan argues that far from being a threat this could all be good for the world of books: “Far from being killed off by the web, books have been reinvented on a bigger scale.”

There is still a slight question though over delivery. In an earlier column Keegan enthused about the Sony Reader but it is far too early to predict what will become the favourite medium for reading these downloaded books. You sense that with electronic paper being played around with that there is still the chance for something completely different to come out of the woodwork and revolutionise reading.

The web benefits

There is an interesting argument made in the Guardian today by Victor Keegan about the technological impact on books. The point seems to be that it is all for the good that volumes that are out of copyright, rarely read and very difficult to obtain are now going to be made available. Keegan argues that far from being a threat this could all be good for the world of books: “Far from being killed off by the web, books have been reinvented on a bigger scale.”

There is still a slight question though over delivery. In an earlier column Keegan enthused about the Sony Reader but it is far too early to predict what will become the favourite medium for reading these downloaded books. You sense that with electronic paper being played around with that there is still the chance for something completely different to come out of the woodwork and revolutionise reading.

Weekend roundup

The weekend was a bit light on bookish stuff. There was the concluding part of Zadie Smith’s piece in The Guardian about reading and writing and a couple of things in The Times and Sunday Times about the future direction of the printed word.

Smith’s piece in The Guardian, which has been the comment of numerous bloggers, wrapped things up by calling for more writer critics. It seemed to validate the approach most lit blogs take when they review, think and argue about a book, which all displays a passion for reading. Having seen the popularity of books that potentially offer a guide to how to read better it comes as no surprise that Smith’s article has been seized on by so many people.

The Sunday Times covered the future of the library, with more digital content coming in the future, and The Times revealed that Google wants to follow the iPod and do something similar for books. Wasn’t that Sony’s plan last year with the eReader? Still it was all used to stir up some doom and gloom about the traditional book format.

One of the most frustrating things when I was studying was that you would pop up to the library and find that the one copy of the book had been taken and all you wanted was one chapter. Being able to view and download that (there will be some copyright issues no doubt) would have made life a lot easier.

Weekend roundup

The weekend was a bit light on bookish stuff. There was the concluding part of Zadie Smith’s piece in The Guardian about reading and writing and a couple of things in The Times and Sunday Times about the future direction of the printed word.

Smith’s piece in The Guardian, which has been the comment of numerous bloggers, wrapped things up by calling for more writer critics. It seemed to validate the approach most lit blogs take when they review, think and argue about a book, which all displays a passion for reading. Having seen the popularity of books that potentially offer a guide to how to read better it comes as no surprise that Smith’s article has been seized on by so many people.

The Sunday Times covered the future of the library, with more digital content coming in the future, and The Times revealed that Google wants to follow the iPod and do something similar for books. Wasn’t that Sony’s plan last year with the eReader? Still it was all used to stir up some doom and gloom about the traditional book format.

One of the most frustrating things when I was studying was that you would pop up to the library and find that the one copy of the book had been taken and all you wanted was one chapter. Being able to view and download that (there will be some copyright issues no doubt) would have made life a lot easier.

The ebook debate


The occasions when I can put on the hat I wear during my day job can be worn when posting on the blog but all this talk of digital book does have some crossover.

A great deal of fuss was made yesterday about a Cambridge-based company called Plastic Logic which is producing plastic microchips that can carry around large amounts of information and display them in an electronic A4 format (see picture) that is a potential way of storing e-books. Add to that development the planned arrival of the Sony eBook Reader into the UK in June and you just know that this year is going to be one dominated by a technology debate.

Getting in early my view is that these products will appeal to certain markets and can learn a lot from the Tablet PCs which have carved out a niche in hospitals and education but failed to go mainstream. The idea of an A4 ebook machine will appeal to academics and those working in government wanting to store lots of documents in one device but beyond that who wants to lug around yet another device when a handy paperback will suffice? In regards to the Sony product it sounds like a great idea but the iPod has been a success not just because of the technology but also because it can be hidden in a pocket. Try that with the eBook Reader and it defeats the purpose of the product but of course sit there in public and use it and it hands the muggers a perfect source of revenue to fund their crack habits.

There is nothing wrong with being niche but you can bet your house on the advertising folks taking a broad sweep approach claming the traditional printed book is dead.