Why e-Books Won't Replace Books

Slate recalls Marshal McLuhan's distinction between hot and cool media to say that ink on paper is perceived differently than type on screen. One, therefore, cannot completely replace the other.

Slate recalls Marshal McLuhan's distinction between hot and cool media to say that ink on paper is perceived differently than type on screen. One, therefore, cannot completely replace the other. "I discovered, to my chagrin, that drafting first on computer tended to come out better than by hand," says Jan Swafford who takes a writer's perspective on the competition between print and electronic media. "Computer drafts were cleaner and crisper. But, after that, I also discovered, paper rules. The final polish, the nuances, the pithy phrases, the tightening of clarity and logic—those mostly come from revising on paper."

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