When it comes to reading paper versus reading on a screen, consumer opinion is polarized—perhaps a little too polarized. One tends to meet die-hard kindlers or die-hard print preservationists, but seldom anyone who’s in between. What’s interesting about recent criticisms of e-book technology is that they don’t try to separate an already divided public in terms of age and tech-savvyness. They try and point out the things that all consumers should be wary of, including readjusting one’s mindset from that of purchasing a hard copy of something, to paying in the same way as one pays a cellphone bill, full of hidden rates and unauthorized purchases. Oh, and spam.
An article at Smart Money lists the 10 things to be wary of with e-books, including buying spam, illegal pricing, hidden fees from reading on phones, and difficulty borrowing from libraries, while an expose at the Times takes on a more obvious problem: the fact that a connected device, with outlets to Twitter and Facebook, isn’t the most ADHD-combative thing in the world. It’s a problem, considering most of us have at least a few symptoms of it when it comes to reading something that’s longer than a paragraph. But criticism is healthy, and perhaps more useful than anything else when it comes to new technologies. We just hope that when it comes to e-books, it’s something people will finally begin to listen to.