Susan Slaughter

Books of the Future

In Detritus, Everything, Little SAS Book Series, Publishing, SAS, SAS Global Forum on March 12, 2010 at 11:19 am

In this posting, I take a break from talking about SAS to talk about the books of the future and the future of books.

I do not own an e-reader. I am a collector of books, good old-fashioned hold-them-in-your-hands-and-turn-the-pages books. My collection includes a copy of Winne the Pooh with a copyright date of 1925 (one year before the book is said to have been first published, something I can’t quite figure out), and a copy of The Norman Rockwell Album, autographed by the artist with a tiny sketch of a dog. I, for one, am going to continue to buy and read paper books.

However, I can see how useful an e-reader would be for reading technical and academic books. And I thoroughly expect to use an e-reader in the future–when the technology is good enough. At SGF 2009, I had the privilege of seeing The Little SAS Book on a Kindle. The result was not impressive. The formatting was pathetic, even distressing in a book where formatting is an important part of communicating the content. The images we had worked so hard to create were missing! Clearly, e-readers have a ways to go…but perhaps not as far as I once thought.

In an article in IEEE Spectrum, March 2010, Jason Heikenfeld discusses the various contenders in the e-reader market and what we can expect to see in the not-so-distant future. Here’s a quote:

“Like the jet pack, it always seems to be a decade away. So why should you believe me now when I tell you that the do-all e-reader will be available in a decade? Read on.”

Click here to see the article.

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