Lynn Neary at NPR asks: "What's The Value Of An E-Book?" I say, no value at all.
Jason Epstein, ... says e-books are "the most exciting event, as far as books are concerned, in 500 years."I'm confident that 500 years from now, archaeologists (assuming humans or evolved bunnies are still here and a modern society still functions) will wonder why, in 2010, all human observation, communication and thought ceased. And the answer will, of course, be that econtent became the dominant media format after that year.
After a few more posts I'll have enough material to publish my third book. When printed on paper, it is almost guaranteed to outlast every tweet from each of the millions of twittererers twittererering this year. And the.effing.librarian will outlast every word published exclusively in an ebook format. Doesn't that make you feel sick?
I've blogged this topic going way back to the beginning of the.effing.librarian here, and I'll probably blog about it again. You notice I don't call my blogging writing... because it isn't writing until it's written down. As long as it remains electrons, it's nothing but a component of air.
Let's say an ebook reader survives for 500 years, what will happen when it's found? Someone has to figure out how to turn it on. And assuming the board and memory isn't fried, and the stored data isn't totally corrupted or the screen isn't shattered, the device will boot up and do something. And maybe the content will be read.
But what if all the books are "in the cloud"? The reader will blink and search and search and blink until it times out because the servers with all the data are unreachable.
But if the internet is completely unchanged for 500 years, maybe they can track the address of the host server over in Mountain View, CA, and they might just be able to get the devices to communicate, and once and for all, find out what humans cared about in that distant past.
And they will read Twilight. Or one of the free Kindle titles like, His Lady Mistress.
But maybe nothing will work and our time on earth will remain a huge mystery. And that's probably a good thing. Because if we are to be remembered for our [ahem] digital culture, for Grand Theft Auto, Old Dogs, Fox News, Facebook, YouTube, and American Idol, then we should just be forgotten.