“Downloading Optimism” (and btw, what’s new with electronic books?)

I know that the image there is going to be too small to read, but go ahead and click on it to read it.  This comes from Lucy Knisley who seems to be a bit of a Renaissance woman of sorts with comics, journal writings, illustrations, crafts, etc., etc.

Really REALLY smart stuff about a group of old school comics folks lamenting the falling of print, which was written and drawn by a comic artist who is obviously enthusiastic about digital books.  As she points out, there was a point in the past where these codex book things were weird (where’s the scroll?), and of course there was a time where print itself was weird, too (why are all the letters so neat and orderly?), not to mention stuff like page numbers, etc.  And, as she writes here, “I’d just rather not expend all my energy worrying over how my words are delivered, and instead concentrate on the quality and content of the words.”  Exactly, and the problem with journalism and traditional publishers is that they keep thinking that they are in the bottle business instead of the wine business.

Anyway, this also jarred in me the question again about “e-readers” or electronic books or whatever you want to call them. Knisley talks in this comic about reading stuff on her iPod/iPhone, but I don’t know if I could/would be willing to do that.  I don’t mind reading blogs or email or similarly “short” sort of things on my iPod, but I don’t know if I’d want to read a book-length work on my phone.  Too little of a window for me.

The Kindle is still problematic for my own reading tastes, as far as I can tell.  I don’t really like the way that the device is locked down/locked into amazon.com only content (remember that infamous 1984 issue?), it apparently doesn’t handle PDF files well, and it doesn’t allow for easy annotations.  I’ve heard good things about Barnes and Noble’s Nook, but I’d certainly want to play around with it.  For me, the ability to handle the PDFs from academic journals and the things I assign students to read in various classes.  I don’t need one of these things to “just read” novels or magazines or whatever, which perhaps makes me a reader who is not in the marking plan for companies like amazon.com or B&N.

Anyway, must reading for 516 and/or 444, probably for 328 too.

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