business news in context, analysis with attitude

I always think that the new year offers the opportunity to restart the "Your Views" clock … we had emails about an enormous number of issues last year, but I think it is good to start fresh.

But I did think that it was worthwhile to post an email from reader Christopher Gibbons that references something I wrote at the end of last month…

I found your comment on finding it “almost hard to read an actual hard cover book” slightly shocking and somewhat dismaying - not sure why exactly.

Maybe the idea that a well-read, well-educated person such as yourself (and someone that also just happens to be an author) could find physical books anything but enthralling is a bit sad.

My mother loved books more than anything else in the world. She read voraciously, usually a book a day - sometimes two.

She died before the advent of e-readers and would not have looked on them with much affection (“Piffle!” she likely would have said.)

My daughter is an avid reader and loves the tactile feel of holding a book and turning its pages. E-books do not offer the same experience to her. She is all of 23 though and her preferences may change.

I read mostly newspapers and some books, with a lot of content now coming electronically over my computer screen.

There is good in both formats, I believe, and different folks will have different preferences.

I think we all can agree that anything that gets people to read more is a good thing.

But the idea that someone who grew up on books, as I know you must have, could ever find it hard to re-connect with the media form that helped shape who they are?

Yes, I would find that a bit sad.

Here's hoping it’s just a temporary phase.

My point was that in many ways, I've grown to almost prefer e-books to the paper-and-ink variety. Not always, but often.

But I would suggest that a book is not the format. The book is the words and the sentences and the ideas. Format actually is sort of irrelevant, IMHO.

You're right that different people will have different opinions. But one opinion does not have any sort of moral superiority over the other. There is nothing "sad" about preferring an e-book instead of a traditional book. What would be sad is not reading at all.

And this is an important business realization.

It seems to me that businesses have to know the difference between content and delivery systems … and understand that it is having differentiated content/product that is critically important.
KC's View: