Cuddling and ebooks

Commentary on how every story about ebooks has to bring up cuddling.

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Or not.

You know, in all the words I've written about ebooks over the past 15+ years, I really don't believe I've ever cited "cuddling" as a reason to prefer print books over ebooks. If I have, I hereby apologize.

But generalizations are such fun, I guess it would be silly to note that they're (frequently, not always) absurd.

Walt, I would have guessed you love to cuddle.

I think "cuddle up with a good book" is one of those cliches I've seen pretty often. So the comparison to a pointy e-book reader is probably inevitable.

Maybe, but not particularly with books

Oddly enough (but obviously to the, oh, one person who's been following my ebook-related writing throughout its history), I've never been opposed to the idea of ebook readers. And I've never found print books particularly cuddly. Good ones may be aesthetically pleasing, but I mostly read either library books or mass-market paperbacks (which are rarely aesthetically pleasing inside the covers).

I've opposed the nonsensical projections throughout the decades, the handwaves about any remaining technological and human interface issues, the overstated arguments in favor of ebooks and against ebooks...in short, the whole technological determinism and universalism.

My own attitude: If people actually prefer ebooks, they'll buy them. If that preference leads to fewer print books, so be it. But saying it doesn't make it so--and, despite all the old projections, ebook sales are still not much more than a rounding error in the book marketplace. And no, 2009 won't be "the year of the ebook" any more than any of the 10 or 12 other Years of the Ebook so far: I will confidently assert that, for 2009, at least 90% of book sales will be in print, not ebook, form. (If it's lower than 98%, that would be an enormous step forward for ebooks...)

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