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Future of books
10-02-2022, 08:17 PM
Post: #21
RE: Future of books
(10-01-2022 09:45 PM)Eddie W. Shore Wrote:  [quote='johanw' pid='164769' dateline='1664641273']
I don't own copy of Kreyzig's book. Is it recommended?

It depends on your background of course, I used it in my 2nd year as applied physics student. It's huge and covers most mathematics I got, only tensor calculus was missing. Subjects often taught in computer science like number theory and functions over finite fields are missing too.

Fortunately it's not that difficult to find it as .pdf or .djvu on the internet these days. I have the 6th edition as paperback and the 9th edition as djvu file.
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10-06-2022, 03:08 PM
Post: #22
RE: Future of books
(10-01-2022 04:21 PM)johanw Wrote:  
Quote:I do think the books will be more light and paperback in the future, which is good because they are easier to carry than hardcover books.

That can still be very heavy. I wished that during my college years current tablet technology existed, and I didn't have to carry 1000+ page paperbacks the whole day. Have you ever felt the paperback version of Advanced engineering mathematics from Kreyzig?

Misner, Thorne, Wheeler: Gravitation "Der Name ist Programm"
With 2.72 kg it beats Kreyszig by almost 1 kg.
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10-10-2022, 05:00 PM
Post: #23
RE: Future of books
I am really pro both to be honest. Digital and paper.

Why paper? Because it is much more persistent, we had the discussion already. Without proper maintenance and moving data from format A to format B ; from device C to device D (yes, devices die); the digital data can disappear in an instant.

Fire? Burns paper, but also digital media.
Water? Destroys paper, but also digital media.
And so on.

So paper is for posterity. I can still find books from the 1968 printed in the DDR and read them. If I find a usb disk or a CD from 2008, assuming it is still working, it may contain data that I cannot read or it is partially corrupted or the format is difficult to open or I may not have anymore any port or device to read the thing.

Digital is too quickly changing as well. Protocols, connections (physical and what not), file formats, etc.. Accessing the internal memory of an ebook reader from 2010 may become soon hard (source: I have ebook readers from the 2010s).

Until we discover digital data that requires little maintenance over decaded, paper (or the like) wins.

For quick access and portability in the short term, though, digital is great. I can bring with me 100 books in a ebook reader, I won't do the same with 100 physical books.

While I read gladly ebooks that I can read sequentially (fiction), with technical things where I need to consult stuff on different pages at the same time it is not so easy. The ebook readers aren't that much better now in 2022 as they were in 2010 (when I first tried them). For scrolling back and forth or let alone having multiple pages open at the same time on the same book, it is a pain.

Tablets, in 2010 or also now, are much better to handle technical stuff that should be opened in multiple places at the same time. Anyway they have the drawback that their screen produces eye fatigue (at least when one is not anymore so young) because it is not e-ink based. Further they are of limited size.

Yes I have multiple tabs but on a thing that is 8 inches or 10 or maybe 12 (I don't consider laptops or monitors because the idea here is that I am reading while taking notes and I don't want to move my head up and down continously), but those cannot be compared to spreading pages around and check all of them at glance (especially if I print the chapters I am focusing on), as if I would have multiple tablets around me with the same document open.

Last but not least notes. Yes there is the surface Pro or the samsung table or the iPad that allow me to take handwritten notes on the ebook (or the remarkable), but nothing is close to take notes on the back of the paper if I printed the pages of the chapters I want.(yet, maybe in the future it would be different, but we have ebooks since 2 decades or more already)

A human hand is a great printer (as long as it works). I can write text, formulas or diagrams on the fly, with more precision than with the current digital technology and with lower budget.

If the devices will improve so that I can write digital notes on ebooks as if I would on paper, without quirks and too high expenses, and if the screens start to use more eink technology, then the paper advantages will shrink only to "persistence". But I don't see that the market will develop such technologies soon. Since the first generation of ebook readers, a decade passed and no big changes happened simply because there is no demand.

People prefer to hear podcasts or watch videos, or read short articles, than taking notes or reading ebooks (at times I do exactly this too). Therefore there is not a big incentive to improve the digital paper also because paper still exists and it is still cheap and ubiquitous (further, I have to say for myself, it is sometimes relaxing to write, as a sort of crafting). Therefore I don't see paper and books (at least technical ones) go down before some decades, unless the market changes.

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10-10-2022, 05:10 PM
Post: #24
RE: Future of books
(09-25-2022 06:36 PM)Dave Britten Wrote:  I lament how much more difficult it's become to find good technical books (database systems, development, etc.) compared to 10 years ago.

I think that nowadays there are some forces against good technical books (at least in IT).

1. The book may become quickly obsolete due to changing tech stack, therefore authors are pressured to publish quickly and not to polish their work.
2. There is the expectation to find everything quickly. Stack overflow dominates (also for some good reasons), therefore the book won't be appreciated or used that much. That could mean that the author doesn't really put a ton of effort in it. I can access to a lot of IT books through safari books online and I can tell you that between searching there and searching online with google, hands down I find the answer in less time on google most of the time. Unfortunately I cannot really justify much "going through a lot of books to find the answers" to the customers. Customers aren't young people, are pretty senior (40, 50+) and still they expect everything yesterday like my daughter (2) does. One cannot expect much quality under constant time pressure.
3. In the last years people prefer to use video tutorials or readily available articles (that is, no paywall), rather than buying books that may or may not be helpful. Thus again there is not much support to make a quality book.

A decade ago there was plenty of information too online, but it was less widespread or organized (stack exchange, quora, reddit all exploded around 2012-2014) so books were still somewhat authoritative.

Instead I would expect books on subjects that move not at a too quick pace, for example self management, time management, organization, lessons learned (in terms of organization in the group) and so on to be still ok. For example lots of chapters in the "the practice of systems and network administration" from 2007 are still valid today because they don't focus on technical tools that may become obsolete.

Or books about design patterns and what not.

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