Saturday, May 12, 2007

EBooks: Shape of the Future?

Andrew Marr of the Guardian tries one out for a month. Here's his conclusion:-

Overall, I am reluctantly impressed with my ebook. Yet I write this on a busy table crammed with books - mostly for my Radio 4 programme Start the Week, as it happens. There's a brilliant new biography of the young Stalin, John Major on the history of early cricket (fascinating plates in both), Mark Tully's new book on India, and Timothy Phillips's book on the Beslan massacre, which is really a book about Russia and the Caucasus. Over there is a picture book on war graves (very moving), and a book from the 1930s about Walter Raleigh for a radio project. And at any minute, the doorbell will go and the very first bound copy of my own new book, a history of modern Britain, will arrive - I hope. And the truth is that all of these give me pleasure of a kind I won't find on a screen. All my life I've somehow assumed that simply owning books like Tully's, or the Stalin biography, made me a better person. Well, that didn't work, but the instinct remains.

Meanwhile, my advice to the makers is to refine the page-turning just a little more, offer a battered blue cloth-bound wallet and, above all, make it smell - just a little musty, please. Or dank. You could offer a choice. But it's clear enough that after all the waiting and the over-hyping, the ebook is arriving. Before long you are going to see them being carried nonchalantly around. And after that some of you, at least, are going to buy one.

1 comment:

Rev Dr Mom said...

As much as I like my technology, I'm with Marr--giving up real books for ebooks will be a hard transition if it comes.