Defeating the purpose of electronic books?

My response to this week’s reading is really more of a question.  Doe it defeat the purpose of electronic book if you have to print the book out to be able to read it?  I doubt I’m alone in this, but at the end of the day, I just can’t read off of a computer anymore…I have to print out all of my assignments for Clio Wired to read them.  Now I know part of the purpose of the e-books is to provide broad access to scholarly writing (very similar to everyone’s favorite, JSTOR.)  I don’t want anyone to think that I’m missing the point of tonight’s reading by asking what seems to be a silly question.  The concept of the e-books opens up so many other doors for scholars and students.  Manning’s mention of the significant insights through links among the documents caught my eye in particular.  It really bothers me though, that I’d have to print out the links also though.  But I have to wonder if the readership is limited because there are so many folks out there like myself, who have a hard time reading an extensive work (anything more then a newspaper article) off a computer screen. 

On a completely different note, I was completely sucked in by this terrific documentary, “Little Man” on TV tonight (God bless those premium channels.)  The filmmaker was documenting her family’s life after the birth of her very premature son.  It was an absolute tear-jerker watching this couple try to keep tiny little baby alive and what all the pressure of doing was was doing to their family.  As the director of the documentary was one of the parents, she, of course, focused on what the stress was doing to her relationship with her partner.  One of the things that the director (and I) found interesting was that even while she and her partner could scarcely talk without fighting under the most stressful times, they could always talk civilly and express their true feelings through e-mail and over IM.  The director made a statement at one point in the documentary that technology was not only keeping their son alive, the the relationship between themselves, the parents, alive.  Anywho, I just thought it was an interesting insight how the kinds of technology we’re talking about in class goes far beyond the academic world and into the emotional one.


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One response to “Defeating the purpose of electronic books?

  1. tad

    …and then there’s the “Love and Academia” community on LiveJournal, where people use the internet to discuss the effects of the academic world on the emotional one…

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