Adonis Diaries

I want my hard cover book

Posted on: September 18, 2009

I want my hard cover book; (September 19, 2009)


            There is a rush to join the bandwagon of Digital Libraries.  Many developed Sates are budgeting for digitizing their national libraries, their archives, and work of arts.  There are several reasons for this rush to digitizing: first, the need not to lose ground to the Americans (project Galica); second, to compete with the “organizations outsider of the book market (commission Alire-SLF); and third, to avoid being distanced by the Big Players like Google, e-book, Amazon, Sony, Philips, Cybook, and the PDA (pocket portables).

            The United Nations (UNESCO) and the American Congress have launched in last April the World Digital Library.  Google contributed 3 millions dollars.  This project is added to the projects of Europeana and Google Book.  Google has already a digital library of 7 millions manuscripts.

            There are advantages to digitizing world knowledge.  First, it is too costly to keep maintaining old books; second, no publishing houses are ready to re-edit old books; and third, my favorite advantage, is that books and manuscripts of the dying languages would be preserved and studied for later generations.  Researchers would not have to travel to forsaken location, in dark rooms in monasteries and abbeys to peruse dusty and falling apart “sacred” treasures of long dead cultures.

            There are many other advantages; millions of serious injuries of falling off ladders for retrieving or dusting books, never read or intended to read, will be saved.  Millions of extra irrelevant “Study rooms”, stacked with dusty books used as just show cases, will be saved for storing electronic gizmos that children will play with instead of Barbie dolls and electric trains. The man of the family can find a smaller corner for smoking his tobacco pipe or opium.

            Those against this rush to digitizing are librarians and middlemen in the book business. Millions in the hard copy business will have to find alternative means for continuing in a job they like. It would be nice if private libraries and public ones start oral reading to audiences who hate to read, who cannot read, or have no digital equipments to keep updated.  It was stated that the French Revolution was initiated because it was the fashion in the 18th century France to read to audiences in saloons, libraries, and assembling places. Oral reading is the best medium to encouraging critical thinking, to familiarize people to argumentative discussions, and to exchange opinions based on specific topics. It would nice to return to community oral reading and share common attention spaces.

            Google can digitize its head off and I won’t care. I want my hard copy book.  I don’t care of hyperlinks designed for speed in search, browsing, and excessive distractions.  I need to leisurely read my hard copy, preferable hard cover, book to cogitate upon anytime I like to return to it.

            I suggest inventing a digital book that is exactly like a book with leaflets and cover; a book that smells paper; the leaflets feels like paper, and flip like paper; oh, and I want it black on white background.  Instead of a book mark a sliding harder sheet, attached to the book, can be super-imposed on the corresponding page and the word processing functions furnished can do all the necessary manipulations for saving section, notes, and even transmissions.  The two hard cover pages may contain the flat batteries and slots for the small CDs and accessories. See? I told you it is feasible.

            I am pretty sure the binding will not be glue based.  It should be feasible and with added facilities. The chip could hold several books with tables of contents; you click on a selected book and when you resume reading it advance to where you stopped.  The added advantage is that you won’t need to retype sections but copy paste and then edit. And why not, we could still attach a pencil like gizmo for the touch buttons of the “book mark” sliding sheet.  See? It is already done. I wanted my hard cover book and I got it! Japan or India must be working on my idea as this post is published.

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September 2009

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