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To be fair, now, fifteen years later, the hardware to make that reasonable is only just appearing. The vast majority of people has still never bought an ebook.



E-books or not, I'm still buying 90% of my books from Amazon. Which isn't a young company either.

I find it funny that pretty much everything in the first paragraph has actually happened to its fullest. Even the "human contact" he's using as a final argument... most people I know hold at least a couple of close relationships almost exclusively online. Often with family.

Makes me scared when I realize back then I'd have agreed with at least half of it. What is coming in the next 15 years?!

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I never bought an ebook but I certainly do more than 95 percent of my reading on a screen.

(Considering that many people sit in front of a screen during their whole workday and read stuff I do not think that hardware was ever the problem. I do not know why people think they would be unable to read books on a LC Display when they have otherwise no problem staring at such screens for hours on end. It’s about image, availability and price, not technology.)

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You're making several fundamental mistakes. First, for a lot of what you read on your screen you have no choice. Where else are you going to read it? So the equation there is whether reading on a screen is better than not reading the particular material at all. Whereas with e-books the equation is whether reading on a screen (and the other benefits of e-books) is better than reading a physical book. Given some of the less than desirable characteristics of reading text on an LCD those benefits may not be enough.

Second, you probably spend a lot more time reading on a screen than most people do. If your day job involves using a computer all day (which I'll hazard a guess to a reasonable probability of such, given that this is hacker news) then you'll already have internalized and accepted the tradeoffs of doing a lot of reading on an LCD. But to someone who uses a computer say 1/10th or 1/100th as much as you do they have yet to come to that bridge, and when they do they have a choice as to the technologies they use for screen reading, the slight benefits of e-ink may be enough for them, even if it isn't for you.

There are a lot of computer users in the world who have yet to read, say, 1 thousand words of paragraph after paragraph of text in a single sitting on a device. To them the differences between reading text on physical paper, e-ink, or an LCD may be much more significant than for those of us who already spend our days staring at monitors and feel comfortable doing so.

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Reading on a LCD is definitely different (even harder) than reading text on paper. You need to get used to it.

But I would argue that more and more people are. And more and more might just be enough. A big minority in any richer country might just do the job.

I’m not sure whether LCDs will be inside the devices which finally bring digital books to the masses but I do think it’s a distinct possibility. I do think they are good enough.

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But the idea is to envision what the future will be like. In the article he couldn't imagine the world as it is now. A simple idea like the newspaper being outdated was beyond him.

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