This week's question:
e-books... no no no no no. No. I can't say I never will read one, or that an e-book isn't a real book - but as long as there's a scrap of paper left on this earth... Sorry. Deep breath. Remember "the medium is the message"? WRONG. Change the medium, and you change the message.
Take audio books. I've come to like them, but not to believe that they are the same as a Real book. When I read a Real book, the characters come to life, or the information reveals itself, in my imagination or intellect, unfiltered. It's between me and the words. When I listen to an audio book, it's the same character, or the same information, but someone else's inflection factors in. Sometimes that's a good thing - maybe I catch more of the character's pacing or inflection, or maybe I learn how a word really is pronounced. Even so, part of the experience has been taken over by the reader, and by the technology.
How's this for an analogy? Give a child an old-fashioned doll, and she will create the doll's world: her name, her family, her identity. Give a child a character doll, or a talking doll, and the imaginative part of play will be reduced. It's still a doll, but the technology has changed the nature of play.
An e-book would contain the same words, information, plot - but staring into a screen, having to scroll back instead of ruffling pages to re-read a passage, not being able to take it into the bath tub -- no, it wouldn't be the same.
Believe me - I see the irony - instead of writing with a pen about my love of paper, I'm typing words onto a screen --