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Is Bill Gates right about reading going completely online May 12, 2007

Posted by Matsu in Business, Education, Information Technology, News, Technology, Web.
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This week I read this blog post at the Chronicle of Higher Education highlighting Bill Gates’ statement that in the next five years (or so) everyone will be reading only online and printed material will eventually get phased out. You can read about Bill’s statements, which also talk about television, in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer article.

I think that the comments on the Chronicle’s blog are well representative of what people think of that. Many say they prefer to read online, others say they will never give up their books, magazines, and newspapers. I found that one comment summed up my own experience quite well. A person wrote that they do most of their technical or work-related reading online, but any recreational reading is done offline (printed matter). That’s my experience. I have not been able to make the shift to reading ebooks on my laptop or PDA. The experience simply is not the same. You can ask my coworkers what I do when I want to really ponder an e-mail… they will tell you I print it and mark it up. I can’t do that online as easily or freely as I can with my yellow highlighter and a pen.

One of Bill’s reasons that everyone will want to read online is that it will ‘always be up to date.’ Well, when it comes to books, newer is not always better. I like old books. And, I certainly don’t like the idea that my book’s content could change over time. I don’t subscribe to the assumption that new is always best.

Some day, as the technology becomes more like the experience with paper and highlighter, I may feel different. But for now, I’m happy with my printouts, books, magazines and pens to make them up.

What is your preference? Reading online or on paper? And, do you agree with Bill that reading will only be online in about 5 years?

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Comments»

1. Chronicle Of Higher Education » Chronicle Of Higher Education May 12, 2007 3:29 pm - May 12, 2007

[…] Is Bill Gates right about reading going completely online This week I read this blog post at the Chronicle of Higher Education that Bill Gates has stated that in the next five years (or so) everyone will be reading only online and printed material will get phased out. You can read about Bill?s … […]

2. Ruth - May 13, 2007

I completely agree with you. I do read articles online all the time, but I can’t imagine that ever replacing books. I can’t curl up in bed with a computer – it’s just not the same.

But what do I know? You can’t trust anyone over 30…

3. Chronicle Of Higher Education » Chronicle Of Higher Education May 12, 2007 11:02 pm - May 14, 2007

[…] Is Bill Gates right about reading going completely online This week I read this blog post at the Chronicle of Higher Education that Bill Gates has stated that in the next five years (or so) everyone will be reading only online and printed material will get phased out. You can read about Bill?s … […]

4. sallymac - May 17, 2007

I definitely read almost 80% of my news online, as well as many blogs. I also bought into the ebook craze and use my Palm TX to read ebooks all the time. The only reason I do this though is convenience. I am a voracious reader, nigh addict, and whenevr I finish one book, I feel compelled to start another one. I have read several of the books on my PDA over 10 times, and I have over 100 books stored on my SD memory card. All that said, I still buy paper books because I love them. I love the tactile feel and being able to read in bed with them. I also love not having the problem of the battery on my TX running dead because I’ve been reading on it constantly. So for now, while I do read online, I don’t see paper books vanishing out of my life for at least 10 years, and I would be surprised if they ever actually did.

5. TRUSTWORTHYPOOH - May 24, 2007

TIME OF LONDON book review EDITOR said she will read e-books when you can drop them while reading in the bathtub and they will still work.

I am a bibliophile …I have thousands of books ….. but still seek info on line. sorry, you cant have my books

doug


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