September 20, 2011

Ebooks and Science

Carl Zimmer et al. will host a panel on scientific ebooks tonight at Rockefeller University; it's sold out, but Science Online NYC will livestream it here starting at 7pm EST. Should be a fascinating take on the future of books; having spent all weekend hanging with zealots of the written word at the Brooklyn Book Festival and related events, I know people are still reading, and are excited about change. (Ebooks are a promising model for writers in terms of profit and intellectual control, too.) I may never get past my adoration of offset paper and vintage paperbacks, but for science books especially (and for trees everywhere) electronic distribution is huge: imagine embedded videos, links to referenced articles or bios, and a built-in dictionary right at your fingertips. Plus, you'll no longer have to lug your copy of Einstein: the Life and Times around with you.

In related news, Lisa Randall's new title Knocking on Heaven's Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World was released today, meaning you could be reading it right now on your Kindle. (Also, Zimmer's Brain Cuttings and A Planet of Viruses are on sale as ebooks for just $8 each.) Instant gratification, and on sale: how can you resist?

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