The Essay, Reborn

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J.L. Wall

J.L. Wall is a native Kentuckian in self-imposed exile to the Midwest, where he studies literature and over-analyzes Leonard Cohen lyrics.

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7 Responses

  1. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Well, essays are what we do here, no?Report

  2. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    Here’s something interesting I’ve found in my own personal experience: people in my grandparents’ age group read paper books; people in my parents’ age group are pretty excited about e-readers; people in my age group are not as thrilled with e-readers for some reason- about a third of my friends actually read that way; and almost none of my students will buy the e-reader versions of the books I assign, even though they’re cheaper than the paper ones. So, you know, maybe books will soon be dead. On the other hand, the local music stores here are selling more records than they have in years and I’ve been told those things were “dead” for thirty years now.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Rufus F. says:

      I think DRM is eating more seed corn than actually creating/protecting crops, if I may stretch an analogy.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Rufus F. says:

      It’s probably because we’re all too used to thinking of technology as being wonky, flaky, unreliable crap that needs to be backed up in multiple locations at every opportunity. We’ve all seen wonderful plans and architectures fall over and go ffft, leaving only an occasional notice that a spammer sent you a message on Friendspace.

      Older folks are used to technology being wonder whizbang stuff they see on TV. The idea of a little flat chunk of plastic that has every book ever written is the kind of thing that they’ve been promised for years. And the user interface is designed down to the point where you push the button and it goes; you don’t need to spend hours fiddling with it to get it to do what you want. So the inherent distrust of technology, bred by familiarity, just isn’t there.Report

  3. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    e-books are like horses.

    It used to be that everyone rode horses as a matter of course. That was just how you got from place to place.

    Then there were cars. The first cars were cranky, unreliable, complex in operation, tremendously expensive, limited by design and technology and infrastructure. Only rich technophiles owned cars.

    But as the technology and the infrastructure developed, and the rough parts of the design were smoothed out by evolution, suddenly cars became viable for the mass market.

    And within a shockingly short period of time, we found that using horses as a form of transportation was a sign that you were either tremendously rich or shockingly poor. And then a few years after that even the poor could afford cars (or, at least, they could take the bus.) And now horses are a luxury item, an affectation–which is exactly where print books are going to go shortly.Report

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