David Byrne, Edison, technology and e-books


With the e-book loomingas an ever-larger presence in the publishing world, it is impossible to resist looking at earlier such shifts. As Byrne notes, the reproduction of a voice became more “real” to the listener than the raw voice itself. The live performance becomes less authentic than the multi-layered, painstakingly assembled released version of a song. Could the same be said for e-books? What is the authentic “thing” of a book — is it the words themselves? Does it matter if they’re in manuscript form or on a page between two covers? I’m interested in his point that “technology feigns neutrality.” Is an e-book reader simply a delivery system? Or are there hidden ways that it’s altering how we read, how we perceive of books, how we imagine books should be formatted and navigated? Can an e-book reader be the exception —is it indeed a neutral technology? David Byrne’s first-person photo book “Bicycle Diaries” is coming out this fall. Looks like it’ll be available in hardcover and on CD — but not as an e-book.

more from Carolyn Kellogg at the LA Times here.