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Kindles, Nooks and e-textbooks…

September 27, 2010

I’ve kicked around the idea of e-textbooks before and repeatedly come to the same conclusion: most of the time I need and want the tactile feel of an actual book in my hands. There’s something about holding a book and turning the actual pages that makes a reading experience better, in my humble opinion. However, there are times when my Kindle comes in handy and I’m happy to have it at my disposal. My Kindle serves me well when I can’t get my hands on the actual book because it’s either cost-prohibitive or I want the information quicker (as in instantaneously thanks to wireless delivery). The Kindle is also great for travel. I will be taking a trip to the West Coast shortly and I’m charging my Kindle in anticipation of long airport stays and even longer (and more cramped) plane encarcerations. I will have the conference paper I am delivering on my Kindle (and maybe on my iPhone as well) along with my presentation so if I get the “itch” to study up a little more, I can. There’s something to be said for having all of that information quickly and easily retrievable. Sure, I could bring paper copies of these items (and I will) but have you ever tried to rifle through your briefcase on a cramped airplane? If you haven’t, here’s a tip: forget about it.

The article below made several points I thought were important; the foremost of those points being privacy. Increasingly privacy concerns surface in every action we take as there is some sort of electronic trail left behind. No matter how well protected, these trails are “discoverable”. Arguably a subpoena can make it much more difficult the fact remains is that we leave a digital footprint for someone else who has the access, savvy and/or legal go-ahead to mine. As my research and personal reading do not seem to make up anything that could be considered nefarious or threatening in nature, on the face of the matter I don’t care much if Amazon discloses what I read. It would most likely bore anyone into deciding I’m not worth much of an inquiry. However, the privacy issue is much more complex than landing on some marketing list. The issue of privacy as it erodes from a variety of vantage points is a critical consideration. Certainly e-privacy is not a new discussion and the fact that it’s been discussed for several years (beginning in the 1990’s when the World Wide Web ramped up) and still there is no panacea, leaves society with the proverbial big pink elephant in the room. As it relates to my bookshelf (both paper-based and electronic) I believe it’s a smaller piece to a much larger puzzle of my personal privacy.

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