Burning the Page: The Ebook Revolution and the Future of Reading by Jason Merkoski
Published by Sourcebooks
Eventually the “e” will be dropped, and books will be assumed to be digital, just as most music is now digital; after all, we don’t refer to music as e-music.
You have to ask yourself whether you trust these men (because they are mostly men – and mostly white men, at that). Do you trust them to make decisions for you on what books you’re permitted to buy?
–Jason Merkoski, Burning the Page
Once upon a time, Jason Merkoski worked for Amazon, where he helped make the first iteration of a little product you might have heard of, something they call the Kindle. Actually, Merkoski was involved in ebooks even pre-Kindle, and as someone who has been dealing with this technology for decades, Merkoski not only has information about the format’s past, but also a vision for its future.
What I really like about Burning the Page is the way that Merkoski is somewhat ambivalent about the digital future. For instance, the above quote about white men and their hold over ebook stores and distribution means. However, he clearly sees ebooks as the wave of the future, and something that will quite likely completely supplant new print books. I can’t say I’m crazy about the idea of print books completely disappearing (after all, I still don’t trust my ereader in the bathtub), but some of his ideas of exceptionally social reading or essentially livestreaming books from an author to a reader basically terrify me as a reader. Socialization around reading is great, but having it completely integrated into every sentence goes so far beyond the past changes in format that it seems completely recreate reading, rather than simply recreating books.
Although I had issues with some of Merkoski’s predictions, I think Burning the Page is an important read for those interested in the past, present, and future of digital books.
For more information, please see the publisher’s page.