John Allison (Scary Go Round and Bad Machinery) has some very cross words to say about ebooks:
Much ink has been wasted on whether music as a predominantly digital format has cost us something precious, and wonderful, and irreplaceable, and why can’t I stop crying &c. There have probably been losses and gains. No song ever need vanish from the catalogue, no treasure need be buried unheard, deleted. Physical formats become fun and worthwhile when produced, rather than drably essential. There need never be another CD released with a single page in the jewel case, another exercise in “why did we bother”.
Sure, there’s too much music to ever listen to it all, but that’s like having too much dinner and remembering with a warm glow the cold hard certainty of rationing. I miss the excitement of the record shop, but not the excitement of discovering something new.
But I don’t feel the same way about ebooks. I hate them. I genuinely hate them. With music, your relationship is predominantly with what is going in your ear. Yes, you may stare at the cover for Tales From Topographic Oceans by Yes for half an hour while going on a prog journey, but that really is making your own fun at its most innocent, deny that if you like.
The relationship with a book is very different. It’s a tactile object relatively unchanged since the Gutenberg press. You’ve got to hold that thing in front of your face. It’s your buddy until you’re done with it. A well-thumbed, much read book is like a vile, beloved, drooled on childhood bunny, but you wouldn’t buy one of those second-hand unless you had a lot of problems in your life.
He goes on to mention that he doesn’t hate digital works, but the current ways eBooks are set up, they’re far too beholden to the technology manufacturers.
(h/t Robot 6)