Uneasey over E-books

The Chicago Tribune has this rather intresting article about the future of e-books. Eric Goss, the group product manager for amazon.com, has his own opinion on the matter.\"This is great technology,\" Goss said, holding higher not the e-book device, but the plain, old, ordinary paperback. \"Nothing has come along to supersede the printed book in 400 years. Right now, this is a superior technology.\"

\"To illustrate, Goss noted that, if he tossed his Rocket eBook into the audience, he\'d almost certainly break the device (as well as run the risk of giving someone a bump on the head).\"

\"But he could throw the paperback without fear of ruining it -- and so he did.\"

\"He threw the book and watched it flutter harmlessly to the floor, its words, paragraphs and pages still eminently readable, even if its cover had gotten slightly torn.\"

\"I question how many people are going to be willing to give up their books,\" Goss said. \"We have to be very cautious not to be too optimistic.\"

\"At some date in the future, the book industry will look back on the middle of the year 2000 as a period in purgatory. From some perspectives, e-books appear to be a golden goose, an innovative medium to attract a new audience of young, hip, computer-savvy readers. But, from other points of view, these digitized \"products\" seem to be soulless replacements for the ink-on-paper friends of a lifetime.

\"Being 35 years in the book business, I adore the book,\" said a wistful Jorge Naveiro, editorial director of Editorial Atlantida SA, a major Argentine publishing house. \"But we have to do something [about e-books]. Otherwise, we\'re going to disappear.\"

\"It was fitting that the book Goss threw into the audience was about managing uncertainty because, if anything\'s certain about e-books, it\'s that no one knows how things are going to work out.\"

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