Turn the Screen addendum

Art (from TransitionFerndale) posted a thoughtful response to my pithy poke at Kindle from yesterday that I thought was worth re-posting (or at least, posting inside the blog’s main scroll.

Art got a Sony pocket edition e-book reader and began concluding that “e-books” effect upon the publication of traditional books will be determined by “how useful the devices are for people who read books.”

Click below to find out about his preferred/recommended route, “Project Gutenberg.”

“I do not think that e-books will destroy print publishing,” Art writes, “any more than television destroyed radio. However, radio and movies and television and the internet have all effected print publishing by supplementing it, and so will e-readers.”

“In the 19th Century, print publishing had a near-monopoly on spreading news. Print publishers, especially those of periodicals, were pretty much able to decide what was and was not news. That monopoly is long since broken, as is the monopoloy of the recording industry in deciding what music is or is not popular. Breaking monopolies is not a good thing for individuals/companies who were making money from the monopolies, but it is good for our society as a whole.”

Art, along with TransitionFerndale, are a non-profit organization working towards “equality and cooperation, against rule by elites and the wars that result,” specifically in terms of uniting individuals to develop a “network of low energy and high-employment local economies” in the face of unreliable and corruptable “high-tech, high-energy global” economic forces that have spurred “Peak oil, climate change and instability.”

Notably, TransitionFerndale aims to engage the community through public discussion of books (along with films, and events).

So, I know that I should take a lesson from Art and open up my mind to considering the experience of E-books.

My beef with this Kindle commercial: was more of a gut-reaction. Or maybe even more of a wretching? I think it comes tied to the new slogan/campaign of the iPhone: “If you don’t have an iPhone…” That suggestive, peer-pressure-y belittlement, tacitly winking at how screwed one actually is, if they do not have said-phone.

That, and the luddite in me cried out: I just don’t get it!

We (already) spend so many hours of our day, some of us 4, some 6, some even 8-10… staring at a screen. Wouldn’t your eyes want a break?

And if you’re on a tablet…or an iPhone…how do you fight that temptation to just put in your ethereal electronic bookmark into your chilly electronic book and slide over to the delicious distractions of Facebook, mid-chapter/mid-sentence?

I get it – I get that advertisements are supposed to make you, essentially, feel less of a person for using a certain medium or product in lieu of the latest, greatest, state-of-the-art-‘IT’-item

But I think it’s exceptionally creepy to be made to feel less for reading a book.

I know… Soap Box! I’ll stop now…

In the meantime, I wanted to provide some considerably germane links: Some essays and books explore our curious transition into potentially-permanent interaction with these “Screens.”

Perspectives of Librarians and Educators

Thomas Larson’s Review: This Is Your Brain Reading: On Books, On Screens

The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains

BBC Panel Discussion on Nicholas Carr’s New Book ‘The Shallows’

What is Media Literacy?

from: Reading Online – ‘Toward a Theory of New Literacies Emerging From the Internet and Other Information and Communication Technologies

And, if you’ll indulge me, a bit more tangentially:

Michael White’s – The Body and the Screen -Theories of Internet Spectatorship

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