Ray BradburyRay Bradbury told an audience at BookExpo America in Los Angeles last week that e-books were failures, just as I have and many other writers on books and libraries have been saying for a while now.

But Bradbury, who has been known for a long time as an anti-tech Luddite sort (A strange attitude for a writer who is – possibly mistakenly – considered an sf author), has a different view on e-books than most of us. (I’ve never really thought of Bradbury as an sf author because I feel he harks back to visions of the past, rather than toward the future.)

Most of us e-book skeptics simply feel that e-books aren’t well-designed by their paranoid publishers for their audience. But according to Alexander Wolfe’s column on the Information Week site:

“There is no future for e-books, because they are not books,” Bradbury said. “E-books smell like burned fuel,” he added.

Wolfe goes on about some positive quotes released at BookExpo by some publishing publicists, who say that they’ve been selling more e-books than ever. But if you’ll notice, none of these publishing people have released any numbers of actual e-books sold. So far, nobody involved with the selling of e-books (who I’ve heard of, anyway) have released any sales figures. Ever. At all. Which makes me, and a lot of other e-book skeptics, highly suspicious.

I still don’t see e-books replacing paper books, except as maybe textbooks. E-books are good for things such as textbooks, which no one reads for pleasure. (Let me ask you a question: Do any of you really enjoy reading more than a page of dense, book-style, narrative text online? That’s why my posts here never exceed 500 words.)

But for reading for pleasure? E-books aren’t making a dent, yet, as far as I can see.

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