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Re: [BKARTS] relevance of the book in the internet age

The word for a dybbuk box is "coffin".

Re the relevance of the packaging (the book qua book) Gene misunderstands my intent. Of course the physical book is important -- Diane Baker lists a great many practical reasons (Behind each is a valued social practice: Why do we want to write in books? When is it permissible, when not? When is it a sacrilege? What is it about books that they can even participate in the notion of sacrilege?) The point I wanted to make is that the importance of the book is an entirely different matter than the importance (if any) of the contents, and that "relevance" is not why books, as opposed to information (i.e. content) are important. The notion of relevance is not meaningful when applied to books. The phrase "relevance of the book" which we hear so often is meaningless. Truth value zero.

The notion of a dybbuk now -- that's rich. I'm going to keep that one.

Pardon my grammar today -- I'm in free association mode.
Ocotillo Arts

----- Original Message ----
From: "Motte & Bailey, Booksellers" <motte@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2008 8:12:37 AM
Subject: Re: [BKARTS] relevance of the book in the internet age

What Diane Baker said is key to the continued dominance of the codex 
book. I should print these parts out in particular and put them up 
behind my desk:

"Books are economical to create.  They are easily distributed, easily
stored, easily accessed.  They are user friendly.  One can put down a
book and pick it up, returning to the exact place with great
efficiency.  They can be shared.  One copy can serve many.
Digitizing books has its uses, but is also dangerous.  How easy would
it be to alter a digitized book?  How could we tell?  How easy to
block access?  To raise the price beyond accessibility?
So, books persist because they are efficient.  Their physical nature
safeguards accessibility."

Champions of digital books (I think of digital books as  dybbuks or 
dibbuks -   dislocated souls or ghosts in Hebrew mythology)  who 
promote the demise of the codex are sometimes their own worst enemy. 
They misunderstand much of what Diane noted above, and that the 
sometimes onerous proprietary formatting, restrictive rights management 
and expensive, short-lived reading devices (dybbuk boxes?) they support 
all make a codex better than a dybbuk for both long term and short term 
use. I do not see reading codex or dybbuk versions of a book more or 
less authentic than the other (if both have the same content), but I do 
see variation in utility and long term use.

Now, I do not mean to say digitizing content is not useful - we all 
know it is indeed, for a host of reasons. Not all digital however books 
are the same, and the presentation of information can affect that 
information's use and understanding greatly. So, I fear I must disagree 
with Brownson - the package is VERY VERY relevant. It is more than just 
cultural or aesthetic.  I unfortunately do not have any bedside reading 
suggestions tho.

Gene Alloway
Motte & Bailey Booksellers
212 N. 4th Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

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