Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Oh, the irony

I'm reading Vernon Vinge's "Rainbow's End". At one point, he describes a day of an old man who's been cured from Alzheimer's in near future. Everyone is using wearable ubiquitous, always connected devices to access any data anywhere, and he's given a foldable electronic paper like device (rudimentary compared to what young kids are using) to access the web:

He wandered around the house, found some of his old books in cardboard boxes in the basement. Those were the only books in the entire house. This family was effectively illiterate. Sure, Miri bragged that many books were visible any time you wanted to see them, but that was a half truth. The browser paper that Reed had given him could be used to find books online, but reading them on that single piece of foolscap was a tedious desecration.

The irony? Rainbow's End is available for free here legally, and I'm tediously desecrating it in my web browser :-)

As a matter of fact, I don't like ithe medium. It's not the first novel I read on my computer, and probably not the last (I read few Cory Doctorow novels this way, bought them all in book form since), but I much prefer holding a deadtree book in my hand for my night reading. Especially when I spent the entire day anyway in front of the said computer. (But have been few time in a situation when I wished for Command+F to quickly go back to something while reading a deadtree...)

OTOH, Tor books started a free ebook program "Watch the skies" recently (non-DRMed PDFs); Jon Scalzi's Old Man's War is coming out soon on it. Karl Schroeder's Ventus is also available for free. Neil Gaiman's American Gods will also be e-published for free availability soon. I sense a trend here.

No comments: