[PLUG-TALK] Writer with great point about e-books

Rich Shepard rshepard at appl-ecosys.com
Sun Nov 16 07:18:01 PST 2014

On Sat, 15 Nov 2014, Michael Rasmussen wrote:

> And he cites RFC 822 as a foundation of his argument.
> http://practicaltypography.com/why-there's-no-e-book-or-pdf.html

   But, then he conflates his interests with that of his readers by
denigrating the value of PDF files. Yes, they do look like dead tree,
non-digital documents but they communicate information and ideas, which I
suggest is the primary purpose of publishing anything.

   He seems tightly focused on the flexibility for change of Web-based
publishing. There are problems with that as there are with digital imagery
compared to paper-and-chemical photographs. The potential ease of changing
digital images and documents leads to lack of trust and confidence in what
is presented.

   And for typographic and layout control, LaTeX, PSTricks, and related tools
provide fine control over what the reader sees. When the purpose of
releasing a document is communicating information, the content should take
precident over the appearance. That holds for text-based mail user agents
rather than GUI-based MUAs as well as PDF documents rather than Web

   His arguments about proprietary e-book reader lock-in are valid. They're
extenstion of the arguments against Microsoft, Apple, and other proprietary
computing systems. So, for my purposes and preferences, I'll continue with
dead-tree and PDF documents and avoid the hardware constrained one. This
came up recently with a book I wanted to borrow from MCL, until I learned
that they did not have a copy and it's available only in a proprietary
e-book format. One of the interlibrary loan librarians and I had an
interesting conversation (via e-mail, of course) as we tried to find a PDF
version. Neither that nor a printed version is available. Well, that's the
author's choice and if he/she does not want to make the work globally
available, that's fine with me. It's their loss of readership and royalties.


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