Alastair’s Place

Software development, Cocoa, Objective-C, life. Stuff like that.

E-books Are Pointless

John Gruber just wrote a piece about how he hopes that Amazon’s new e-books flop.

Personally I don’t think we need to hope. The physical experience of a real book is still far superior to any electronic version I’ve yet seen. The only way I’m ever going to be persuaded that e-books are a good thing is if someone makes a physical e-book that looks and feels like a real book, that has multiple electronic pages (preferably at least twenty) and onto which I can load any of my digital books.

Even then e-books will be worse than real books, because publishers will be concerned (and rightly… as a software developer, I’m only too aware of the horrible problem of copyright infringement and the total lack of respect the public has for other peoples’ hard work) about theft of their material. That isn’t a problem with real books, since it’s uneconomic (generally speaking) to copy one.

In the meantime, I may use the on-line version of Version Control with Subversion, but I still own (and use) a paper copy, which says it all, I think. The only books I use entirely in on-line form are Apple’s developer docs, and the only reason for that is that they’re updated so regularly and are so large that printing them is uneconomic.