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On Digital Reluctance

Sitting on the tube this morning reading Noam Chomsky’s Doctrines and Visions I came across a note I wanted to look up. I flipped to the back of the book (this took approx. 2 seconds) only to find a direction to www.happybirthdaypenguin.co.uk which is where the notes are located. Frustrated I put the book down and closed my eyes.

Once I had reached a computer I visited the given address, only to find the predictable marketing gloss of a flash-based website. After about a minute I found the notes, but by this point I’d forgotten the sentence to which the note referred. Isn’t this the worst of both worlds? I understand why they thought it would be a good idea, but this approach just alienated me as a reader. I have bought the book, so am I not entitled to the full text, including the notes, wherever I am? I can’t believe it’s what the author would want.

2 comments to this post

  •  :  James, I'm not sure if I'm more impressed by your reading matter, or the fact you are actually reading non-fiction on the tube on your way to work. Neil
  •  :  Ahhhh, when modern technology leaps into action...to really, really irritate people! I was reading a Christopher Brookmyre book, which referred me to his website to find out more about a joke / plot device, and then had to wade through various bits of the website to find out that yet, the in-joke was what I had thought in the first place, 4 days before....when I was reading it at the airport. Frankly, I was surprised I remembered to go onto the site at all...references from books to websites need to run the gauntlet of that lazy beast known as 'my short-term memory'...

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