“Whatever the future may be, it will be digital. The present is a time of transition, when printed and digital modes of communication coexist and new technology soon becomes obsolete. Already we are witnessing the disappearance of familiar objects: the typewriter, now consigned to antique shops; the postcard, a curiosity; the handwritten letter, beyond the capacity of most young people, who cannot write in cursive script; the daily newspaper, extinct in many cities; the local bookshop, replaced by chains, which themselves are threatened by Internet distributors like Amazon. And the library? It can look like the most archaic institution of all. Yet its past bodes well for its future, because libraries were never warehouses of books. They have always been and always will be centers of learning. Their central position in the world of learning makes them ideally suited to mediate between the printed and the digital modes of communication. Books, too, can accommodate both modes. Whether printed on paper or stored in servers, they embody knowledge, and their authority derives from a great deal more than the technology that went into them.”—Robert Darnton
“We are the people of the book. We love our books. We fill our houses with books. We treasure books we inherit from our parents, and we cherish the idea of passing those books on to our children. Indeed, how many of us started reading with a beloved book that belonged to one of our parents? We force worthy books on our friends, and we insist that they read them. We even feel a weird kinship for the people we see on buses or airplanes reading our books, the books that we claim. If anyone tries to take away our books—some oppressive government, some censor gone off the rails—we would defend them with everything that we have. We know our tribespeople when we visit their homes because every wall is lined with books. There are teetering piles of books beside the bed and on the floor; there are masses of swollen paperbacks in the bathroom. Our books are us. They are our outboard memory banks and they contain the moral, intellectual, and imaginative influences that make us the people we are today.”—How to Destroy the Book, by Cory Doctorow | theVARSITY.ca
“For an iPhone 3GS 16GB, necessarily on AT&T, the two-year total would be $3,836, or about $160 per month. Turns out that, for any typical BlackBerry model or a Nokia E71x, the total’s also right around $3,800 (e.g., $3,764.75 for the BlackBerry Tour 9630 on Verizon, or $157 a month). But there are lower-priced options: the Palm Pre on Sprint comes out at $2,635.75 ($110/month), largely because Sprint’s Simply Everything plan is considerably cheaper than Verizon’s and AT&T’s unlimited plans.”—
“Between 1997 and 2007, per capita visits to public libraries increased nationwide by 19 percent. During the same period per capita circulation increased by 12 percent. This growth in demand for library services occurred even as people increasingly turned to the Internet to meet other information needs.”—
“Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity.”—Christopher Morley
MJ: You recently got attacked for calling the Amazon Kindle elitist.
SA: I got hundreds of emails insulting me, accusing me of being some caveman. I am by no means a Luddite. I have two iPods. I have a cell phone. I have cable TV, HDTV! I had some French friends in town last week. The man said, being French of course, “When you’re in a bookstore and you’re smelling the book and you’re touching it, your senses are engaged.” His English was a little off. He said, “It’s like—what do you call that word?—the preparation for having sex.” I said, “It’s like foreplay.” And he goes, “Yes!” Amazon had given me a Kindle, and he grabbed it, and he goes, “This is not sex!” Then an American friend of mine took the Kindle home for a night; he wanted to play with it. He came back and he said, “It’s like masturbating with a condom on.”