Chronicle of Higher Education published a timely article (E-Books’ Varied Formats Make Citations a Mess for Scholars) about challenges of quoting e-books (and other sources with no page numbers) in research, and the difficulty that academic citation standards (MLA, APA, etc.) publishers face trying to keep up with the rapid changes in technology.
What I found most intriguing were readers’ comments: some baffling (“There are many of us who would vastly prefer to use hard copy books” – although the author does not explain WHY); many clear cases of technophobia (“I think professors and teachers should tell their students, ‘If you don’t have to use an e-book for your paper, don’t'”. – again, no clear reason as to WHY).
The comment that best summarizes my thoughts about the issue comes from a reader signed as flowney: “MLA, APA and Chicago are not the right organizations to be addressing this issue. Rather, it is a task for the eBook standards maintainers. Thus, this is largely a job for the International Digital Publishing Forum which maintains the open ePUB standard and Amazon which maintains the closed .mobi format.” This got seconded by cwinton, who added “The MLA and others should not be trying to accommodate the current crop of devices/formats but rather should be pressuring the industry to adopt standards for putting location markers in e-copy.” And I think that nails it.