The future is bleak
Posted 10 September 2009 - 10:02 AM
I had no computer throughout high school, everything I had to write was either in pen or furiously typed up in the library when I managed to get in. Similarly, paying two hundred dollars or more for an e-reader would have been out of the question. Granted, I went to a public school and not a private academy, so I am guessing my experiences concerning being unable to afford such tech are the extreme opposite of the students who attend Cushing.
It is my experiences at that age and the love of books I now have that paints this in a negative light for me, but even so I have tried to look at this without bias. The best I can go is that they are jumping the gun given the relative newness of the technology concerning ebooks and e-readers. Wouldn' it be better to wait a couple of years to see where the tech heads? By then we might see cheaper prices from standard readers or maybe an e-reader that might be able to replace text books. From my point of view, given that the school is one of the first to do this, it seems that this is a lot like all those idiotic posts where someone screams, "FIRST!!!!".
As far as the title of the link, I don't feel this is crushing news. Private schools and the students who go there might be able to afford this, but something tells me that the majority of public schools aren't likely to follow anytime soon. Something did strike me as odd when I read the article:
This strikes me as an enormously low number. Even in my high school, located in a backwater redneck town, had a good amount of people in every morning reading and checking out books before school started. Forty-eight seems a very low number, even if it only spans a few months. I am also left to wonder what they consider to be childrens books.
Edited by Velos, 10 September 2009 - 10:04 AM.
Posted 10 September 2009 - 10:15 AM
A power cut would sure suck though.
Posted 10 September 2009 - 10:48 AM
Posted 10 September 2009 - 11:08 AM
Even were that not the case, I wasn't terribly surprised at the low number of books taken out. Schools are more and more reliant on textbooks and novels provided by the school, so there is less of a need for other books. The cost of keeping a current (meaning, continually expanding the library's stock of books) is fairly significant, particularly when it is solely for highschool students who may not even partake. Finally, high school libraries are pretty redundant when most towns have far larger, nicer libraries with librarians that are, generally in my experience, much smarter and nicer. Massachusetts (I'm sure most other states do also) has a great trading system among town libraries where you can get a book from any library in the state rather quickly and easily.
Posted 10 September 2009 - 12:42 PM
It's a High School Library. My experience is that school libraries are essentially useless. No one takes books out of them.
Posted 10 September 2009 - 12:47 PM
Posted 10 September 2009 - 01:04 PM
Setting aside the question of wherever or not that would still be worth the cost of the environmental damage caused in the production and distribution of all those books, I seriously doubt they would adopt such a volatile business model, but even if they did to the point where it was more prohibitively expensive people would simply file share their way around it, or utilise whatever other black market technology exists by that point. Students are unsurprisingly price sensitive about things like that.
Posted 10 September 2009 - 02:02 PM
As to black market technology... it will only be viable if the hardware and firmware supports it. It works well with computers because they were never designed to be restrictive. The various copyright holders have pushed hard to change this and to some extent succeeded (e.g. Windows Vista had a whole slew of DRM measures built into the OS itself), but so far they haven't gotten far enough for most people to notice. It works considerably less well with devices like the gaming consoles that were designed for the manufacturer to exercise complete control of what the consumer does with the device from the start -- you need to modify the hardware to do anything with them. It is still possible to do so with the current generation, but I suspect that soon enough such a modification will require industrial strength equipment (or not be possible at all).
The makers of the current readers are in the same situation as the consoles: they want to restrict the usage of books as much as possible and they have complete control over the hardware and firmware. Fortunately for us, they cannot be quite as draconian as with games (not immediately, anyway) because people will just stick to paper books. However, sooner or later they're going to try to milk DRM as much as it can be milked.
Posted 10 September 2009 - 02:24 PM
Outside University, "No one" isn't really much of an exaggeration at all. Not in my experience anyway.
Posted 10 September 2009 - 03:41 PM
It also had a small but very good selection of fiction and since they didn't sort it after genre it really got me to read outside of the fantasy and sf fields. I found writers like Borges, Calvino, Wodehouse and Zelazny because of it.
Posted 10 September 2009 - 03:54 PM
I just have a very hard time thinking that readers of the future are going to be poorer* if this catches on. As you say, books (and second hand books, and pirated books) will be around for a long time, but the history of literature won't end with electronic reader: long before the last drop of ink fades from the last page of the last paperback they'll be superceded by some other gadget, and electronic readers will be the bargain-basement option.
Anyway, the point I wanted to make when I opened this thread was that there are loads of advantages that can come about from books going digital. It's not all doom and gloom.
*And this assumes we measure the cost solely as the price tag, rather than the convenience, durability, and lack of environmental damage that's gone into its production. But this is by the by.
Posted 10 September 2009 - 04:13 PM
Think about it--kids won't check books out for free and get their info, now they'll skim books online and print a few pages here and there.
The future isn't digital until they find something our eyes can handle. I can barely read posts on this page let alone whole books.
What this will end up doing is promoting NOT reading.
Edit: Is it a high school library? I thought it was a college. When a college does it read my above post.
Edited by Simon of Steele, 10 September 2009 - 04:15 PM.
Posted 10 September 2009 - 04:55 PM
Oh god I'm old.
Posted 10 September 2009 - 05:01 PM
Posted 10 September 2009 - 05:05 PM
Posted 10 September 2009 - 05:08 PM
I second that. My sister has the Sony Ebook reader, that is some nasty shit. I am NEVER going to read my books in front of a screen. That's just not right. She isn't using the thing, either.
But maybe I am wrong, maybe I am a conservative, old, asshole....but heck I am twenty and I am open-minded but I just can't imagine myself reading books in digital-version.
Edited by WhiteHaven, 10 September 2009 - 05:58 PM.
Posted 10 September 2009 - 05:39 PM
Oh god I'm old.
Haha. Well, I usually checked out books too, but if I found something wasn't working and I was in a hurry I'd just peruse the online database.
I suppose this could be good news for guys like me--aspiring writers. I mean publishers would be more willing to take a chance if the cost of publishing drops substantially...right? Hell, I'd rather just have some books being sold in a bookstore some day. That seems better.
Edited by Simon of Steele, 10 September 2009 - 05:40 PM.