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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Books or bytes?

In 2005, Dennis Lyons of the Daily Record quoted Walter Isaacson, President of the Aspen Institute, on the subject of print:

Print. If for the past 400 years we'd been getting all of our information electronically, and somebody invented a way to put it on paper and deliver it to our doorsteps so we could read it in the back yard or bath or bus, people would say this new print technology is so wonderful it will replace the Internet.

Mr. Isaacson was discussing newspapers. There are even greater advantages to print when it comes to books: the fact that no batteries required and they don't break expensively when you drop them are only two. And, remembering my childhood, it would have been hard to read electronic books under the covers after lights out. (OK, OK, flashlights have batteries).

Although I am not a survivalist or a rabid environmentalist, I am a firm believer in avoiding the use of electricity - so long as my comfort is not compromised - whenever possible. Supply is not always available, dead batteries are hazardous waste, and it costs money. There is merit to the [slightly] simpler life.

I don't think that I will be buying a Kindle (R) from Amazon any time soon. The reason is that books are simple, efficient and, in the long run, inexpensive.

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