Naomi Alderman writes:
Recently I’ve been intrigued by the idea that ebook readers could be a greener way to spread the printed word. And since I started using one my position has begun to evolve. Printed books are not what they were: many are cheaply produced, smell peculiarly of chemicals and bow or split before you’ve finished reading them. Many of my parents’ books, paperbacks bought in the 1960s and 1970s, are now unreadable: the glue in the spines has turned to brittle flakes, the pages are yellowed and fall out as soon as you open them. I always thought I’d keep my books but it begins to be clear that they, like so many other products, have a built-in obsolescence.
Meanwhile, my iLiad ebook reader is sleek and beautiful. It’s a pleasant object to hold, and with its useful page-turning bar, one-handed reading is simple.
Um, yeah. Get back to me in fifty years with your iLiad, eh? This part of the article makes no sense.
I’m not at all convinced that they’re “greener”, either, across the lifecycle, and the author struggles to justify her implication that it is. Is there such as thing as a formal LCA taking into account all issues, including heavy metals, disposal, etc? The article’s “electricity generation for an e-reader had less of an environmental impact than paper production for the conventional book system” doesn’t come close to addressing all of the issues.
And yes, I’m attached to paper books, and am not convinced that ebooks can substitute for all aspects of my reading pleasure. Just like I’m not yet nourishing my body with Ensure.
DRM is a huge problem, yes, but it’s not the only one.
Is anyone here reading ebooks for pleasure? Anyone tried it, and stopped? (I have. I prefer audiobooks for on-the-move pleasure-reading.) What are your thoughts?