Posted Oct 2, 2009 by taliesin
"calibre reads metadata from the following formats: LRF, PDF, LIT, RTF, OPF, MOBI, PRC, EPUB, FB2, IMP, RB, HTML. In addition it can write metadata to: LRF, RTF, OPF, EPUB, PDF, MOBI"
Now I need a kindle
E-books. Lots of e-books. Lots of free e-books...
Surely one needs to wait for the next generation but a couple Kindle or (even better) Iliad? The one that's cheaper and has a colour screen.
Will never do away away with actual books, though. What're we going to put on our shelves to impress guests? Carry round in the hope of getting into conversation with an attractive person?
I spent a while reading e-books (A Princess of Mars, Wealth of Nations, etc.) and I felt absolutely short-changed afterward. Nothing to put on the shelf. Extreme difficulty finding favourite passages ten years later [I tend to remember passages' location with a combination of tactile and spatial referents: I can see it on the page, recto or verso, and I have a touch and heft memory of about how far into the book the bit is]) With e-books you have to use either of the terribly inconvenient digital methods -- a bookmark (which is, of course, also available for real books whence this newfangled digital thing has borrowed it) or a 'search', which is related to intellect and memory in the same way that a calculator is related to mathematical ability.
And what do you do when the power goes out? Batteries? When they run out? How do you read a Kindle when your light and warmth come from that fire you just had to kindle?
The holiday was just fine, thanks.
Although I still own the first book I read, (at 3), my real book library is, sadly, very small. Despite being an avid reader, (a grade 5 teacher accused me of fabricating a list of books I had read during one month), due to lack of finances, and frequent relocation, I never acquired many books. However, the public library staff and I were on first-name terms!
Which is to say, while I much prefer actual books to electronic ones, I have neither the finances nor the space to store the books I'd like to own, and although I do make use of the local library, I'm often so busy the loan period is over before I can finish a book. And I'm a fast reader, too.
E-books are 'cold'. They cannot be shelved, searched, or easily bookmarked. Power does go out, batteries lose potency, and solar rechargers are still too damn expensive!
But for now, for me, reading e-books is a not terribly inconvenient alternative.
(But I won't be buying a kindle, or any other e-reader gadget. My laptop fulfills that role quite nicely, and offers far more versatility.)
When I was eight years old, I was confined for a time in St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto for surgery. Among other books which I had to while away my time of convalescence was a copy of Kingsley's 'The Heroes'. In a moment I will pick up that exact, precise, molecular volume to read aloud to the next generation at bedtime.
There is no substitute for a real book.
And a proprietary bit of technology is no substitute for a generic, open source bit of technology.
Ah, there's nothing like a nice papyrus!
Better, a good, solid clay tablet...
Or even more better (?) -- a sharply incised stone slab!
Seriously, I do agree a real book is far superior to the electronic ones. I wonder though, if a future technology will reproduce the tactile book experience, yet provide the adaptability of the digital form?
Imagine a book, with pages, with printing and illustrations, that felt and behaved exactly like a 'real' book, but that could become any book you wished it could be.
It would not, of course, require an external power source, or batteries. Perhaps it could be solar powered, or be energized by any external light source -- much as the printed page of your Kingsley is illuminated by a bedside lamp.
I wonder is such a book-device could be made, and made in such a manner as to be indistinguishable from the 'real' thing, except that the contents could be dynamic
I think it would be, if not a substitute, at least a technology worthy of consideration
Oh, and FWIW, while it's nowhere near my imagined 'multi-book', calibre is "free, open source and cross-platform"
Someone else has been thinking the same way as me:
'Time to get computers out of the classrooms'
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