Codices and Daleks

I attended an online course today, with a bunch of other librarians, about OverDrive Mobile:  installing and using the OverDrive Media Console "app" on Apple, Blackberry and Android devices to download OverDrive e-books and audiobooks directly, without a PC.

At the beginning of the class, the instructor asked how many owned smart phones.  A little over half the attendees owned one.  Smart phones are projected to outsell PC's in 2012, and many more readers of e-books will read them on these devices than will buy a dedicated e-reader such as a Kindle or a Nook.  DS joked that she had a "dumb phone" that only made calls.  I don't own any kind of mobile device.

It was interesting, then, to read Lev Grossman's piece in the NYT Book Review, From Scroll to Screen, a capsule history of the book.  While accepting the inevitability of the transition to electronic formats, he maintains that an e-book is more like a scroll than a codex of bound pages, losing non-linear reading functionality:

Trying to jump from place to place in a long document like a novel is painfully awkward on an e-reader, like trying to play the piano with numb fingers. You either creep through the book incrementally, page by page, or leap wildly from point to point and search term to search term. It’s no wonder that the rise of e-reading has revived two words for classical-era reading technologies: scroll and tablet. That’s the kind of reading you do in an e-book.

The Guardian has a story, Dalek collector enters Guinness World Records.  Over twenty years, Rob Hull has collected 571 Dalek models.

Hull, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, said: "I've never been a fan of the show, but I have been enchanted by the Daleks ever since I saw one in a toy store as a child.  "My mum wouldn't buy it for me, but I swore at that moment that I'd have my own one day."  He said he bought his first Dalek at the age of 29 and since then they had slowly taken over the house.
But his 43-year-old wife, Dawn, will not celebrate her husband being the newest record-holder.  She said: "I hate the bloody things and I've got a feeling this is only going to encourage him."

I was mildly bitten by the Dalek bug when I discovered a cult of hobbyists who build full-scale Daleks.  But I resisted the temptation to buy a Dalek model.  The only thing I collect are editions of the Rubaiyat.  Daleks  are quaint, compared to today's computer-generated nightmares, with their toilet-plunger arms.

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