Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Death of Ink on Paper?

Guess what this is? A picture of the sad demise of our world.  Actually, the graph above shows newspaper industry stock prices over the past five years according to Gawker.  With news of so many editorial lay-offs at the rags we read (New York Times, L.A. Times, Wall Street Jounral, Newsweek, etc), I suppose we have to get with the program people.  It's a new, new (paperless) world coming our way.  I believe I will allow my family to buy me a Kindle birthday present next month.  Might as well sign up now.


rmellis said...

Well, at least we'll be saving some trees.

John said...

But consider how much petroleum goes into the plastic on a computer, plus all the lead and stuff.

Twenty years ago, I read a piece on how books are good because they're portable. I think even at the time, nobody was arguing that they were cheap. At one point, they were both portable and cheap. It's part of the publishing industry's problem that they've run up the cost of these things, and of course, the runup isn't going to the authors.

I would feel better about electronic devices if they didn't look like they'd turn into cell phones, overfeatured and impossible to use. Make them as easy to use as a book and keep the total cost of ownership (device plus individual books) lower than just buying paper books and I'll sign on, although a book doesn't need its battery recharged.

Joy said...

It's funny how Gawker and Perez Hilton and such constantly post articles about the demise of newspapers, magazines, and other print media. I can't imagine a motive they would have for doing so.

Anonymous said...

Who cares about that stuff.
Your use of the words "my family" indicates that you're married with children, w,r. You and your wife/husband are amputees (you mentioned that your novel was about an amputee couple, and writers write about what they know). One of you is missing arms, the other legs (opposites attract). You form a symbiotic relationship -- the person with legs carries the other around on his/her back, and the one with arms feeds, brushes the teeth of, etc. the other.
You're probably the one with arms, since you need hands to write.
Your teenage children (who call you "dude") are out of control.
You live in Idaho.
Am I on the right track?

Elizabeth said...

Apart from first editions or other special books (gifts from friends, inscribed, etc.), I like to mark passages and make margin notes.

I don't think that's possible with Kindle. And, to John's point, if it were possible, I imagine it would be overcomplicated.

My husband has a first edition of "The Proud Highway" that has a huge bullet hole through it; Hunter Thompson signed it himself. (Husband interviewed him several years ago in Woody Creek, and they shot guns together.) I bet if HST were around, he'd use Kindles for target practice.

Elizabeth said...

Woops -- I am mistaken. There is a Kindle feature that allows a reader to make margin notes. There's a text cross-search feature, too.


I don't quite understand the appeal of dedicated Wikipedia access, but the dictionary is cool.

John said...

And then there are used books. Via Amazon, you can get classics of any sort for a couple of bucks plus shipping. E-books would need to beat that.

Warren Adler said...

The eBook is here to stay as more and more people download content onto existing devices and look forward to an avalanche of user friendly instruments reaching the marketplace. But the future of eBooks has to be a two-way conversation between readers and authors and device makers. As readers, we deserve to be part of this conversation because our views will ultimately shape this future.


what john said.

plus, you can go to and do the same. i ordered a conrad richter for $1 (shipping was $3.99) and it arrived in an inverted coke carton. funny. confess i have mixed feelings about ordering used books. if and when my own books come out, i'll want folks to buy new, many books as i buy, i'd go broke in a second if i didn't buy used. and to be fair, i do spend some good money on new books when i can't stand to wait for a used one to arrive. hoping it all balances out.