In his lengthy essay about e-books, John Siracusa makes a good point about how new technologies rarely completely replace what came before them.
Take all of your arguments against the inevitability of e-books and substitute the word “horse” for “book” and the word “car” for “e-book.” (…)
“Books will never go away.” True! Horses have not gone away either.
“Books have advantages over e-books that will never be overcome.” True! Horses can travel over rough terrain that no car can navigate. Paved roads don’t go everywhere, nor should they.
“Books provide sensory/sentimental/sensual experiences that e-books can’t match.” True! Cars just can’t match the experience of caring for and riding a horse: the smells, the textures, the sensations, the companionship with another living being.
Lather, rinse, repeat. Did you ride a horse to work today? I didn’t. I’m sure plenty of people swore they would never ride in or operate a “horseless carriage” — and they never did! And then they died.
For the record, I love my Kindle while acknowledging its many shortcomings. I’m looking forward to the next version, and whatever Apple finally releases.
(Kind acknowledgements Daring Fireball.)