eLawtric Books anyone?

Jason Wilson explores the pros and cons of what he dubs “eLawtric Books“. In a series of posts he (for the most part) counters Eugene Volokh’s thoughts on the future of electronic books and the law.

His view, with which I agree, is that ebooks a la Kindle et al are not the future of law books. Since the web came along, it’s been clear to me that the web was it. We have the cloud and we have increasingly smart devices connected to it. Dedicated devices to which we download stuff are only temporary, transitional technologies. Clearly, Amazon have a vested interest in selling “books” and they’ll milk the ebook bandwagon. For publications that are read serially, ebooks make some sense; for legal publications they make no sense at all.

4 thoughts on “eLawtric Books anyone?

  1. I disagree and agree – as I don’t think we are talking a one size fits all future here…However, have you used Chittty online? Horrible. Most of my lawyers would still prefer it in a form that looked like, and functioned like a book, where they could annotate and add e-post it notes on it.

    I do agree that lawyers are not going to carry around copied of the majority of general law books on any device, but for key texts I think they would.

    So whilst I don’t think legal publishers should be sticking all their eggs in one basket, ignoring the eBook market would frankly be stupid.

  2. Rupert,

    Nick, couldn’t agree more. And Rupert, you are exactly right. It is an awful, ugly word. I have plenty more of them too. The point I like to make with these portmanteau’s is the fact that the mini “e” designations on “readers” and “books” is just as bad. We are producers and consumers looking for a word that captures what we want. And I can tell you right now, “vook” is another bad one.

  3. I agree with Scott: the cloud is all very well when it’s there, but there is a lot to be said for textbooks and case law archives collected onto a device that permits the downloading of updates but is not dependent on a connection where, for a variety of reasons, one might not be available. I have been reading Bleak House on my i-Phone on the bus: the idea of reading about quill pens and copyists on a device that delivers the text in any font and size, on any background colour, scrolling downward at a speed dictated by the angle at which I hold the device, is rather amazing. I haven’t tried Kindle or the Sony reader, but I would probably welcome a slightly larger screen than the phone if I were reading law reports, perhaps with a split screen and a virtual keyboard to enter notes and annotations. I have used Justis law reports on CD-Rom for years and much prefer them to the online version for ease of use and speed and mode of display. I suspect what will happen is that devices primarily designed for reading will offer the best of both worlds, ie connectivity and a basic touchscreen writing facility. It may be that netbooks will become more like reading tablets, or vice versa. I wouldn’t rule anything out at this stage.
    And yes, I also hate seeing words perform contortions. I will now lawg off.

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