How very wrong

Steve pointed out this posting of a meme on "if I could be". The librarian response reads:
If I could be a librarian, I would build the most comprehensive library in the world, along the lines of the Library of Congress. Then I would have a staff put every book into e-book format and create a Netbooks system, like Netflix, so for a small fee (very small) you could borrow books that would be mailed to you. Your membership would include a reader of some kind and the books would be like cartridges. Then I would push to have these readers be as common as telephones and televisions in people's houses, and the ebooks passed around for anyone anywhere to read. This way more people could read and not have to buy books or risk losing or destroying the original copy of a book. Schools would get them donated so their students could use the readers and books.
My first response? EEEWWW.

I don't want e-books, I want the real thing. The pleasure of feeling the pages under my fingers, the smell of a new binding, and the weight of the book in my arms would all be replaced by something that looks and feels like my computer. Why would I ever want to read something that reminds me of work? I read to escape my computer and work and, let's face it, life.

Why don't the technophanatics get that? Please, leave my books alone. They're fine the way they are.

Now, where did I put my latest?


Aravis said...

I've tried e-books a few times, and I just can't stand them either. Many people enjoy their convenience though. So perhaps a mix of both should be made available in his library world, so that those who want them can order their e-books, while you and I enjoy the real thing. :0)

Lazygal said...

Aravis, you're right, there are some that enjoy this "convenience". My other gripe (not mentioned) was with the whole idea of not owning. Some books (the "bad" books) I wouldn't mind not owning. But to not have my favourites around? Bah. And how, exactly, am I to get a signed edition if it's all rental and electronic?

Murphy Jacobs said...

I've done both. I've got an e-book reader (batteries never last long enough and palm pilot size isn't the greatest) and I read on my computer (easier format). There are a lot of pro's to the format but the technology is far behind -- mostly because people are attached to the sensual side of books and because it's a big ol' change that has no real push to make adoption worthwhile. There are also issues about interaction -- e-book readers do not go easily to the bathtub, they are somewhat more cumbersome than the average paperback, and it's a little more complicated to annotate them.

I've got thousands of books in my house. Far too many, I sometimes think. They overflow bookshelves, become playthings for cats (who simply don't appreciate books)and require dusting and other maintenance. This is because I get attached to having the book itself after I've read it. I don't get that what with e-books.

I don't really want to replace paper books with e-books, but there are so many books I'd have read in e-book format if they'dbeen available and a reader convenient and comfortable to use, just so that I wouldn't have to maintain the physical form afterwards. Sometimes my book collection feels like the urns and mummies of my ancestors, all requiring careful storage and care.