New Technology for Students: "Book"

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Jim's picture

Aaron you are a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luddite ]Luddite ! Smile

An interesting NYTimes article: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/23/replacing-a-pile-of-textbook-wi... Replacing a Pile of Textbooks With an iPad

Quote:
One question that will likely come up for college students is the price. The program is currently only available for the iPad, a device that starts at $500. Inkling hopes to solve that problem by reducing the cost of the digital textbooks as compared to their paper counterparts and by allowing students to buy books one chapter at a time.

The cost of college textbooks on paper can easily surpass $1,100 a year. If students find that the price of the iPad and the digital textbooks balance out, then the iPad investment could quickly make sense.

And finally there’s the weight factor. Inkling’s frequently-asked-questions page points out that even if you fill your entire iPad with Inkling books, it will still weigh 1.5 pounds.

J Ng's picture

Well, the codex at one time was a novelty over the scroll, which was a step up from clay tablets and ostraca.

Who knows what's next from the iPad? Maybe an SD Card slot on your temple and a mini-projector that looks like a third eye?

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I guess technology has always depended on other technology to a degree but it seems that the ipad/kindle/etc. represents a major leap in "dependencies" over the book.
Where books depend on technologies like the printing press, paper, ink, etc., the electronic devices depend on special plastics, integrated circuits (the production of which depends on a pile of technologies), high tech. batteries, electricity, LED lighting, on and on it goes--not to mention dependency on a global network of computers and wireless connections.

What this says to me is that the ebook is fragile technology. If any of the vital techs on which it depends is destroyed or massively interrupted, the ebook becomes useless. Of course the same is true of, say, the modern airliner and we've had those for many decades now. But the airliner's many dependencies yield a major advancement. The ebook seems to me to offer a relatively small payoff for its place atop a vast tech. tree:
a) compact convenience
b) inexpensive delivery of books (the tech. of the printing press is obsolete)
c) transaction efficiency: the labor involved in actually buying or selling a book is almost nil

I suppose those in the industry would say this adds up to alot, but as a reader... well, it only helps me if I'm a full time student or a traveler who wants/needs to haul a pile of books in a 1lb package.
Otherwise... doesn't do a thing for me.

I like the sturdiness of the Book.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

J Ng's picture

Quote:
The ebook seems to me to offer a relatively small payoff for its place atop a vast tech. tree

In short, it's digitization. When I got the Theological Journals Library CD from Galaxie some years ago, I was boggled, having worked in a library's periodicals room, how thousands of dollars and roomfuls worth of journals and indexes could be held between two fingers for a few hundred dollars.

Yes, the CD can snap. But enter Cloud computing--now that CD of mine and lots more is available online for a fee of $50 a year, which is about how much it costs to subscribe to 1 journal in printed form. If you wanted a copy on your hard disk, you could download the whole thing in minutes via your Wifi connection, no CD or cable needed!

But back to the fragility theme: the destruction of whole libraries in Alexandria and Pergamum demonstrated that books don't last; the Dead Sea Scrolls are an exception to piles of dust all over the ancient world.

Come to think of it, does anyone want to do a curside pick up of my Keil & Delitzsch set now that it's on my e-Sword?

A. Carpenter's picture

Something must be wrong with me. I still print out the articles off the CD. Then I put them in a filing cabinet (well, actually on top of the filing cabinet, but let's not get into that...). I've got some mental impairment that keeps me from making the digital leap. Can anyone recommend a good counselor?

Faith is obeying when you can't even imagine how things might turn out right.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Quote:
But back to the fragility theme: the destruction of whole libraries in Alexandria and Pergamum demonstrated that books don't last; the Dead Sea Scrolls are an exception to piles of dust all over the ancient world.

True. I'm not suggesting the book is indestructible. Rather, my point is that the ebook is far more fragile because of the many technologies it depends on. In 500 years, we could have piles of DVDs or hard drives with encyclopedias but no equipment to read them.
...or equipment so expensive only a few have it.

The beauty of the book is that one can be produced with far less technology. And it's continued useability depends only on keeping it dry and away from fire.

But I'm not really against the ebook. I think the ideal is both-and. There is no question that a digital reference work that can be searched for key words and phrases in seconds (or, these days, less than a second) represents a major leap forward from the 18 volume (or whatever) paper version.
(The handheld ebook doesn't yet do that--or does it? Can't be far off.)

We should continue to produce and protect hard copy books though. They are treasures.

(ACarpenter... there's a "holistic" guy near here who can probably realign your meridians with crystals--and then you'll be fine. Wink )

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Aaron Blumer wrote:

But I'm not really against the ebook. I think the ideal is both-and. There is no question that a digital reference work that can be searched for key words and phrases in seconds (or, these days, less than a second) represents a major leap forward from the 18 volume (or whatever) paper version.
(The handheld ebook doesn't yet do that--or does it? Can't be far off.)

We should continue to produce and protect hard copy books though. They are treasures.


I don't really disagree -- I haven't gotten rid of many of my hard-copy reference works. However, they *have* gotten much less use. I think my hardback Strong's has been used only for projects for my kids in the past 10-15 years. Having Bible study tools on the computer got rid of much of my need for hard-copies of certain works. Now that I have hand-held versions of Bible translations, my paper ones have gotten very little use in the past 2 years. (And yes, I can easily do a quick search on my phone for words and phrases -- very helpful during a sermon or SS lession.) But, I haven't sold or given away my Strong's or extra Bibles -- I have a little bit of attachment to them for reasons I can't explain.

I also still have an American Heritage dictionary that doesn't get much use, almanacs, etc. I can't see that really changing in my lifetime unless we have such a big crash that we lose all the supporting technologies you mention.

Interestingly, even though my kids also have access to hand-held Bibles on their phones, they still use their hard copy Bibles much more than I do, when I would expect it to be less.

I don't think books are going away, but in the future they may only be used for works of lasting value, and exist in much smaller numbers than they do today.

Dave Barnhart

Jay's picture

Quote:
Come to think of it, does anyone want to do a curside pick up of my Keil & Delitzsch set now that it's on my e-Sword?

I've kept my own set. I find it's easier to use sometimes than E-Sword is, especially if I'm trying to get more than just a couple verses' worth of notes. My wife wants me to donate some books, and I'm not really opposed to doing so, but I do still find myself preferring paper when I'm studying sometimes. Not sure why, but I do. Keil & Delitzch is staying in the house, though.

Of course, I digitize all my music right away (if I even buy CD's) and want to watch http://sharperiron.org/filings/9-25-10/16429 ]the Al Mohler video on my LG Ally, so there's some aspects of the technological tidal wave that I wholeheartedly embraced (like forums Smile )

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells