Will the next philosophy book you acquire be an e-book? (with survey)
In a recent article on The Atlantic, Ian Bogost (author, game designer, and professor of computer science and engineering at Washington University in St. Louis) explains why he doesn’t like e-books, or e-books (or ebooks) .
They don’t fit his idea of ”reservation,” which is technologist Glenn Fleishman’s term for “the essence that makes someone feel like they’re using a book.”
Bogost admits that people do not agree on what this accounting character is, this “essence”. “The receptivity of a particular reader to ebooks… depends on the degree to which these objects conform, or at least do not violate, the idea we have of accounting,” he says.
Bogost’s own sense of writing is informed by the physical character of the books and their peculiar physical characteristics, some of which he believes have significance as representations of technological and cultural progress throughout history, and some of which only distinguish books from other printed material (for example: “Books have pages, made on a left (back) and right (front) side. You can look at both at the same time, and an open book has the topology of a valley, creating a space that you can enter and be surrounded by, both literally and figuratively. ”)
He thinks that a bookiness idea that is more compatible with ebooks is one that “values the possession and transport of a potentially large number of books at a time; who prefers direct flow from start to finish to random access; who reads for the meaning and force of words as text first, if not primarily; and this does not concern the use of books as stores of information added by readers or as palaces of memory.
I imagine that other bookiness ideas can also be compatible with ebooks. For example, one can see books, at least in some contexts, as stores of information and ideas, and see the capacity to carry and easily access a large amount of information and ideas that ebooks give us as corresponding to his sense of the reservation. And how ebooks adapt to their sense of reservation may depend on the technology used to access them. For example, I personally don’t associate eBooks with a preference for “direct start-to-finish flow,” but rather the searchability. Or maybe “the reservation” is not relevant or explanatory.
For reading and philosophical research, which book format do you prefer? Let us know by taking the poll below, and as usual, you’re welcome to share your thoughts in the comments.