I often read 董橋’s articles for fun and inspirations. The following is an excerpt from his recent article. As someone who recently downloaded a few free eBooks from project Gutenberg to try to read on my iPad, I want to discuss what I think and feel after the excerpt.
An excerpt from 董橋：書香 – 大陸版《董橋文存》總序 – 2010年09月19日
I’ve downloaded a few free classic eBooks from project Gutenberg onto my iPad. What I haven’t done is finish or read a complete eBook on it. Part of me shares 董橋先生’s sentiment. I don’t know if I will ever like eBooks as much as real “physical” books that I can hold in my hands, flip and markup.
What I am different from 董先生 is that I can see eBooks one day replacing paper-books and becoming the dominant medium for people of new and even older generations to consume books. And I can imagine “胡適 of the future” using eBooks to expand his/her readership from one corner of the earth to another. Or “胡適 of the future” self-publishing his/her New York Times best sells via print-on-demand technologies.
With no disrespect to 董先生, titans of the older generations are usually not the best predictors of what will be possible in the future.
The soon to be 100 years old Ronald Coase once said in a lecture,
“… new ideas are most likely to come from the young who are also the group who are most likely to recognize the significance of those ideas.”
Sept 24 update: Here is an insightful video of Stephen King on e-books.