I think the evolution of the e-book is a natural progression in our technological society.  Below are what I think are some positive aspects of e-books.  I’m sure there are many others.  I think the negative aspects are not insurmountable and will be overcome, just as with regular books.

    We can get recent updates to incomplete or outdated information quickly via the Internet. 

    We can have ready access to reader commentaries that can perhaps give us a different perspective or additional clarity on what we have read.

    Reading should have the effect of changing us somehow.  If the material were important enough to a group of people, then a given reader would potentially have access to a group of people who may want to gather (physically or virtually) collectively to amplify the change in society somehow. 


    Authors will potentially have ready feedback on their ideas, and can refine them based on that feedback.  The author could then create addendums based on the feedback and broadcast it. 

    The life span of a book with it’s surrounding resources, including reviews and blogs, would have better integrity over time because the information can be captured and stored electronically.  Versioning tools would help keep aged data well organized.

    We’ve been talking about teachers utilizing technologies to foster learning and the importance that scaffolding plays.  I can see where and e-book can be loaded into a scaffolding software program for teachers and students, giving them an environment to critically analyze and synthesize the concepts of a book.

    The ability of an e-book to link online resources in a variety of media types can make the e-book highly interactive and appealing to students.

– There is an interesting plethora of possibilities for e-book playing devices that can possible project visual media in three dimensions, as in holograms. 

– e-books will travel on portable devices, so books will be available to people with cell phones 24/7.  That has to be a good thing. 


Its hard for me to think of a negative to e-books.  African Americans were once killed in this country if caught reading a book.  Now book material will be so readily available on portable devices, I am wondering if we will take it for granted.

One other potential negative is, what if some external source can monitor what books we have been loading on our personal readers.  Could that information potentially be used against us?







4 Responses to “e-books”

  1. Mitch Bleier Says:

    The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art used to offer an iPod-like guide that, like the audio guides that you get in lots of museums, would allow you to get additional information on demand as you walked through the galleries. Unlike the audio guides, these devices allowed you to access both audio and video. I can imagine more powerful devices allowing you more flexibility in accessing a broad range of personalized content related to the museum’s exhibits: works in other museums, historical background, etc.

    Also, I’m thinking that things like field guides that allow you to identify birds, plants, geological formations, etc. might be well suited to e-formats. These can be geographically localized via GPS on the fly. They might also allow user input that will constantly update range maps and other data that will affect all of the other users. Of course the user input would need to be filterable or moderated to ward off the influence of crackpots.

  2. puso01 Says:

    How about e-books composed on the fly? You just select a few key words, and authors who’s ideas you want to synthesize, or contrast and compare, and the e-book is composed for you using fancy heuristic algorithms that are “sensitive” to your needs, educational, recreational, sentimental, biological, ethical and other any other al? You can specify the strength level of various philosophies or fetishes, like when I play a computer chess game, I can decide the personality of the computer opponent. I can specify the strength level of the opponent and the style of play. Why not do that with reading compositions? Pretty soon our favorite authors may be artificially intelligent computer systems that adapt to our proclivities! Would we be interested in what they would have to say?

  3. diysociology Says:

    Google seems to be trying do to this already — when we search on something, they bring us maps, images, snippets of text — and if you don’t turn off the tracking setting, Google will adapt its results to reflect what you click on. I know that’s not quite an e-book, but it’s an awful lot of information, related to any search we make.

  4. ungooglable Says:

    I have mixed reactions to the idea of proclivity-detecting resources. On the one hand, yeah, it’s pretty cool to have increased odds of enjoying the interaction. On the other hand, I could see this leading pretty quickly into an echo chamber, in which you’re only told what you want to hear – which would probably shut down learning, rather than enhance it.

    As long as we’re dreaming, what about an AI tutor that sensed your proclivities and comfort zones – and every so often deliberately violated them?

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