Some of my own spontaneous contributions to a long Facebook discussion here within the last week are shown below. Some participants in the discussion, other than myself: Christopher Roden, Gary Fry, Douglas Pulker, Jeff VanderMeer, Tom Alaerts, Matt Leyshon and many other Facebook Friends. (The discussion was and still is only viewable by my Facebook Friends.)
Reading is absorbing meaning from the palimpsest of word and paper.
I agree, Ross. But it’s good to have a good old brainstorming session about it. I do feel realbooks are beginning to come back, though.
I agree, Gary, about horses for courses, but realbooks have been with us since the 13th century or longer, and those old friends are being abandoned unless they fight back as they now seem to be doing. They have been wounded by something electronic that is not as good as realbooks for those seeking tangible communion with the text. Eyesight and lightweight convenience and easy availability, notwithstanding, ebooks have, I feel, devalued the value of the author and of the book itself.
Disregarding, for the moment, the effect of ebooks upon the value of and to authors and culture in general, the only real test is an impossible test – to read the same book in Ebook and in realbook format, and compare the experience in isolation from each other.
Some of us on this thread believe it is the case that reading the same text in different formats changes its experience. Our belief is impossible to prove as yours is, Gary.
May Sinclair in the wonderful Ash Tree Press edition is, I feel, a quite different experience from reading them on-line.
http://mic.com/articles/99408/science-has-great-news-for-people-who-read-actual-books (link provided by someone else)
I agree with Matt – there is no intention to wield offensiveness about degrees of intelligence here. It’s an affective thing from object (book or screen) to person. We can all report back on our own individual findings. Mine have been expressed above.
I repeat it’s an affective thing from object to person, nothing to do with ability to scry whatever text is presented in whatever form. Sometimes empiricism proves apparent nonsenses right after all.
Yes, Tom, if the general theory about print as realbook gestalt over ebook tenuity is correct. I love old paperbacks and so forth, as well as Zagava luxury.
Thanks for all that Donald. I am sure others will share such a sensibility. After all, realbooks in one form or another have been in the human DNA for centuries, and the electronic threat of snatching that away is a wrench.
Thanks all for brainstorming with me. I feel less alone than when I had a similar brainstorming 2 or 3 years ago. For me, I hope that is a trend.
“Every book has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.” —from ‘The Shadow Of The Wind’ by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
https://nullimmortalis.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/the-transfiguration-of-an-unchanged-text/ (link to my earlier thoughts on this subject, including my findings regarding paper-based texts throughout my Dreamcatcher Reviews over the years.)
EDIT: Further discussion – http://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?t=9356