What if the Kindle had been invented first?
From a commenter of Megan McArdle’s at The Atlantic:
I was walking through a bohemian part of town and ran across this
place called a “bookstore”. I thought, “Hmm, that’s interesting. I’ve
always gotten my books electronically on my kindle, but this could be
an interesting idea.” So I stepped inside. What I saw was an unfamiliar
way of experiencing books: on hundreds of of sheets of paper, bound up
on one side with glue and wrapped in a hard cardboard cover. They even
smell a little musty, at least the old ones.
At first I was excited; but then I began to think, well how would I
do a text search in such a book? Supposing it was a reference book, or
I wanted to find a quote that was particularly memorable? Also, I can
resell it if I don’t want it, but I can’t take notes in the book
without ruining its value. Plus, where am I going to keep these books
if I buy a whole bunch of them? They’re really heavy! And it uses a lot
of paper – especially newspapers! What if it’s dark and I need a bigger
font? What if I’m on the train to work and decide I want to buy the
paper version of the Times that day? Can’t get it!! Not only that, but
they wanted to charge me MORE for these clunky, static, physical, books
than the normal electronic price! Honestly, with all these limitations
and disadvantages, they should be giving them away for free. I decided
I’m never going to pay a single red cent for a paper book until these
issues are addressed. No way.
Interesting. Let’s take it from the POV of the comics buyer:
“But still, this paper edition does have a few advantages– I mean, wow, color? I wonder how my Japanese imports would look in full color? And some of the pictures are crisper, the ones that aren’t painted– these paper versions look like someone took all the figures and traced a black line around them, to make them sharper. Neat!
“Oh, a few in paper shouldn’t be bad. It’s not like I’m going to buy thousands of them and keep them around.”