Comment to post: Will books survive? A scorecard…
It has seemed to me that the comparison of *a* printed book to *a* digital book is rather missing the point. More apt is to compare *a* digital device to *a* library. In this library are texts, videos, newspapers, magazines, and all kinds of weird things that ended up in the library for all kinds of reasons.
So, when we say that there are a lot of distractions on the web, this is entirely true, but there can also be lots of distractions in a library, with people walking around and talking, different magazines vying for your attention, public lectures scheduled, people doing strange things in the stacks and bathrooms, and so on, all of this going on while you are trying to concentrate on your book.
And, while an ebook device may cost a few hundred dollars, this must be compared to buying an entire library of books. Thanks to all of the digitization projects, many of which allow you to download for free, a single ebook reader now can represent quite literally a million-book library, with some of the finest works ever produced (although not the most recent).
Given all of this, it seems as if a digital book reader would be a great value since it could give me zillions of the best books of all time for free immediately. My hope is that people may actually read some of these older books that are free, compare them to some of the pulp published today, and question which is more valuable. There were a lot of romance novels published earlier that are now in the public domain. Maybe the fact that they are free will make them more interesting to the public again.