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Wrong Howard Clark?

Howard G. Clark

Professor Emeritus In Biomedical Engineering Department

Duke University

HQ Phone: (919) 660-7700

Email: h***@***.edu

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Duke University

100 Fuqua Drive, Box 90120

Durham, North Carolina 27708

United States

Company Description

Duke University Medical Center News Office is a full-service news office available 24 hours a day, every day, to respond to inquiries from the media. We are dedicated to quickly respond to media requests and encourage you to call our office if you have qu ... more

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Reader friendly: Howard Clark and his e-book

But if Howard Clark is holding the future in his hands-and he may very well be-will the "graces of life" be reduced to electrons?Clark, a professor emeritus in Duke's biomedical engineering department, is an early convert to the electronic book."I'm the least computer-smart fellow in my department, and I took satisfaction in being the first to have an e-book," he says."My colleagues were astounded."
A year ago, Clark was a new-product tester for NuvoMedia's Rocket eBook.He tried it for a month, liked the experience, and made a purchase-at that time, for about $500-as soon as the technology became commercially available.Because of cataracts, he found reading printed books a strain.He was also confronting a space crisis: An avid reader, particularly of mystery stories, he was running out of shelf space at home; at the insistence of his wife, he got rid of a couple of hundred books last spring.
In his office at the Pratt School of Engineering, Clark produces his e-book and brings to the screen Joseph Ellis' American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson.
For his part, Clark observes that the Rocket eBook was released into an unsettled environment; the major competitor, SoftBook, has a different mechanism for transmitting the book to the reading device.So the e-book revolution may produce a variation on the unhappy battle of videocassette recorders waged by VHS and Betamax formats.He also wonders about pressure-which he hopes the manufacturers will resist-to add to the e-book such non-bookish features as cell phones and personal organizers.
Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
The Barnes & Noble site is limited to about 2,000 selections, many of them self-help books and titles, like Dracula, on which the copyright has expired. (Still, for Frank McCourt's Tis, 'tisn't true that a critical flop is a technological flop, and the book made its way speedily as an e-book offering.) Clark says it's likely that booksellers underestimated the complexity of formatting e-book-friendly text.
Limitations aside, Clark is a fan of his Rocket eBook."I'm disappointed in the content, but that's irrelevant to the concept," he says.
Clark can imagine the hand-held device accommodating the full set of textbooks that engineering undergraduates use over their four years-bulky books like the Elements of Materials Science and Engineering that he has on his office shelf.It's already accompanied him on a European trip."The future is here," he says.

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