Why hard copy rules

I mean, look at that Marvel app (just look at it). I was a comic-book kid, and I’m a comic-book grownup, and the thing that made comics for me was sharing them. If there was ever a medium that relied on kids swapping their purchases around to build an audience, it was comics. And the used market for comics! It was — and is — huge, and vital. I can’t even count how many times I’ve gone spelunking in the used comic-bins at a great and musty store to find back issues that I’d missed, or sample new titles on the cheap. (It’s part of a multigenerational tradition in my family — my mom’s father used to take her and her sibs down to Dragon Lady Comics on Queen Street in Toronto every weekend to swap their old comics for credit and get new ones).

via Why I won’t buy an iPad (and think you shouldn’t, either) – Boing Boing.

There will never be an iPod for a book.  I do want a technology that allows me to read pdfs and other free stuff off the web while curled up on the couch.  But actually replacing books is out of the question.

Again, it worked with music because music always required a machine.  Books are not machines so the pros of using a machine are marginal.

And I never wanted an iPad either.  Honestly, these people make amazing desktops and laptops and need to find a way to brag about it every once in a while.  This flashy stuff seems distracting.

4 thoughts on “Why hard copy rules

  1. Bentok

    Hey Mark,

    I love your blog and twitter feed.

    I think music worked because its easy to get DRM-free music. If you rip a CD you can put it on your Mac, your PC, and any of your hard drives. There’s no hassle. DRM is a huge hassle.

    If the content on an iPad or any other tablet device were DRM free it would change everything. You could let your friend borrow your comics. You could have the same copy of a book on your Chrome OS-powered tablet and another copy on your iPad. If you could do whatever you want with the content you own, it would make a big difference.

    I think it would be pretty cool to take one iPad with you on vacation and have 10’s or 100’s of books to choose from just on that one device. What’s not cool is not having the right to do what you wish with the content you own.

    Personally, I’m waiting until an Android or Chrome tablet comes out. Open source is much friendlier when it comes to these things.

  2. mark Post author

    Thank you for your kind words! You may be write, but I think in addition to the issue of DRM is simple economics. Paper is cheaper.

  3. jon

    I would love to have an ipad – I could read in bed without turning on a light to bother my wife! that alone would sell me on it. I guess I should probably just get a book light…

  4. pentamom

    Where readers belong is in the textbook market. Those are books nobody wants to buy, few people want to keep long-term (and most of those who think they do are kidding themselves) but are necessary for temporary use, and expensive because they are shorter production runs. And they’re also a reasonable replacement for what most people use library books for — a one-off entertainment read that you’re not likely to read again, or don’t want to keep around until the next time you do. But I agree with you that they’re not a good replacement for a personal library.


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