Verlyn Klinkenborg makes some astute observations about his use of iPad and Kindle as a reader of books, in particular the role that books play in social intercourse and how this is diminished because of the restrictions that digital book tools place upon us:
The entire impulse behind Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iBooks assumes that you cannot read a book unless you own it first — and only you can read it unless you want to pass on your device. That goes against the social value of reading, the collective knowledge and collaborative discourse that comes from access to shared libraries. That is not a good thing for readers, authors, publishers or our culture.
Removing the social affordance of loaning someone a book is perhaps the worst crime perpetuated by the new world order of digital content. The communitarian aspect of shared books in libraries is similarly damaged.
Books should be social. Our personal property should be ours to loan to friends.
Imagine if Sears mde it impossible for me to loan my chain saw, or if fingerprint recognition on my VW made it impossible for a neighbor to borrow it?
But, in the name of countering ‘piracy’, we can’t loan The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress to a friend. And our society is lessened because of that.
- Editorial Notebook: Further Thoughts of a Novice E-Reader (nytimes.com)
- In Ink on a Flyleaf, Forever Yours (nytimes.com)