The Case for Books

Brad DeLong observes that whatever downsides books may have they don’t electrocute you in the bathtub:

My one serious complaint is that it is a book. That means that only one-tenth of the material comes from 2008 – the last-written piece was first published on April 27. A lot has happened since then. Right now I have the book at my left hand and my laptop at my right, with one window open to one of Lewis’ Bloomberg columns about the crisis (links.sfgate.com/ZFPG) and another open to his excellent piece of reportage “The End of Wall Street’s Boom” for the December issue of Portfolio (links.sfgate.com/ZFPL). As a person interested in the panic now and in the future, I find my computer more interesting. On the other hand, I can take the book into the bathtub – so it still has one key edge, even though its production process sacrifices timeliness.

The longer I own my Kindle the more I think that it’s a crucially flawed device in a number of respects. Respects that I expect to be resolved by some successor device in a few years that will position the eBook readers of the future to kill off the regular book. But this bathtub issue is hard to solve.