Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Kindle Revolution May Take a Later Train -- Sam Kornell

The Kindle and its kin, like the newly announced Sony e-readers, will undoubtedly change the face of publishing in time, but the Delphic pronouncements of its partisans may be a tad overblown.

By: Sam Kornell August 05, 2009

Are printed books on the road to obsolescence? If so, what might it mean for the vast industry dedicated to their production and sale? Digital books are value neutral — they're nothing more than a different distribution platform for the same product, the written word - but, if the rhetoric is accurate, they may be about to cause a "massive amount of pain and suffering in the book industry" as one analyst recently put it to me. Read Full Article Here.
“Dead Tree Format” I hear this phrase quite a bit these days, especially when it comes to advertising spin for digital readers. While all this is well and good for the trees and the Book Industry’s Treatise on Responsible Paper Use, which will require publishers to increase their recycled paper use to 30% by 2012, it doesn’t address the issue of e-waste. Like the i-pod and the i-phone, where every new model that comes out is a must have, e-readers contribute to a glut of digital waste product. Compared to paper, digital waste is more costly to recycle, and some of it cannot be recycled at all. These devices are filled with all kinds of toxic elements that wind up in our landfills, poisoning the earth. Now I am not saying that digital devices are the scourge of the modern world and should be avoided at all costs, but, consumers need to adopt a more eco-friendly use/reuse/recycle decision making process when they feel the urge for the latest digital gadget. Books are recycled far more diligently than electronics. We pass them along to friends, we sell them on eBay and other auction sites, we donate them to libraries, we sell them to used book stores, and we offer them up on book swapping sites. Books that are irreparably damaged can be pulped and recycled. Unfortunately, what happens most often with digital products is that the old one ends up in the trash because digital recycling isn’t as easy for the consumer. Just some food for thought.

Cheryl Anne Gardner


Brent Robison said...

Yes, and it's not only the post-consumer gadget waste we need to remember, but also the whole electronics design and manufacturing infrastructure with its petroleum-based plastics and who knows what else. I don't have the facts for a final judgment about whether paper books or e-books are more green, but it's improtant not to thoughtlessly jump on the bandwagon in response to the "Dead Tree Format" marketing propaganda.

Cheryl Anne Gardner said...

Agreed. I am a non-bandwagon person. I am not an early adopter and I don't keep up with the Joneses.

My computer died on me a week ago, and I had had that thing for 7 years. I'll be talking a bit about that tomorrow. I think my cell phone has to be about 10 years old. I can call someone on it, and that's all I need to do when I am out and about. Most times, I don't even need to do that unless I am lost.

Once a year my township has HAZ waste day, and each household can bring up to three old computers. So my Frankenstein monster will get properly recycled this Saturday.

Jim Murdoch said...

Precisely. Our local council is actually very good when it comes to recycling. All I have to do is put paper, glass, plastic and metal out of the door of my flat and once a fortnight people come along and take it away for me. I threw out some old computer books a foot thick last week. Electrical and electronic good can be collected with a simple phone call. One has to ask a) how aware people are of this service and b) how much they can be bothered. Attitudes are changing but nowhere near fast enough.