Pogue on eBooks

David Pogue: People keep talking about the last holdouts in the analogue world: books. “Oh, we’re all going to be using e-book readers and pens. Oh, we’re all going to use digital pens that send our writing back to the computer.” And no, it’s never going to happen. If you look at the history of people trying to predict the future of technology in particular, the one thing you see over and over and over again is that they overestimate the speed and they overestimate the degree of change.

2001: A Space Odyssey; we’re supposed to have outposts in space by now.

1984; we’re supposed to be a totalitarian regime by--oh wait, that did happen.

No, I’m just kidding. But anyway, everybody over-predicts. Things happen much more slowly. And the books? I mean come on. Four dollars and it’s no battery and it’s indestructible. The book is never going to be replaced by some 400-dollar thing with an LCD screen. It’s just not. It will find niches, it will be embraced by the nerds and the gadget freaks, but as a replacement for the book? And the pen and paper? I mean come on. Something that needs to be recharged with a battery and hooked up to a wire, will that replace a pencil? No, of course not.

 

Recorded on May 15, 2008

Progress is slower than people predict.

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