The future of books

I confess I am a gadget freak. If there’s a new gadget, I feel I absolutely need it. Put an iPhone on sale, and I’m in the line to get it. New and better satellite navigation? Let me have it! An electronic corkscrew? Absolutely! So for a while I have been eyeing up e-book readers, and oddly enough I still haven’t made a purchase, despite on the whole wanting to. How convenient to be able to bring the entire collection of Dickens novels, Shakespeare plays, books on university leadership and poetry anthologies on to the plane with me!

So I look at eBay offers, Amazon reviews of the Kindle (not yet for sale in these parts anyway), Sony devices and so forth. But I don’t buy. Even for me, there is something about books in their paper version that still attracts me. There is something satisfying about putting the paper bookmark in the pages as you close the book, that even the best electronic memory cannot match. And if you’re that way inclined, something beautiful and sensual about a leather cover of an antique book.

Sooner or later I know I shall buy an e-book reader. But I bet any amount of money that, in 10 years time, I shall still be buying paper-based books, admiring them, and reading them. Even in this age of fast-paced technology, some things will stay the same.

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7 Comments on “The future of books”

  1. tatoca Says:

    there is nothing like the smell of a new book when you first open it, or scribbling on the margins beside some interesting part of a narrative, or finding the notes wrote by someone else when you buy a second-hand book. e-books will probably be convenient to take on holidays and avoid the extra weight of paper books, but i am too sticking to paper for now!

  2. I.G. Says:

    I agree with tatoca. The tactile pleasures of books are a significant part of their appeal.

  3. John Flood Says:

    Try the iLiad–the best of the bunch. See at

  4. SJ Says:

    Yes the the tactile pleasures of books. Just like us they are part of the natural word.

  5. Quito Says:

    I love books. I just love natural age from everyday handling.

    The curled corners and what not. I love it.
    The only time I would want an e-book reader is if I’m traveling and have a nice number of books I want to read.

  6. msharma Says:

    A glass of wine with my favorite book ( in paper form) is my way of relaxation and I don’t think anything can beat that!

  7. Earl Says:

    Yes, I love books and the paper et al. BUT … there are some real benefits to these e-readers. I’ve read books for years on handheld devices like Palm Pilots and HP handhelds. Reading in bed at night with a backlit screen is a real pleasure. Traveling with a dozen books on an ereader is a blessing. If this new medium is to take off, the price between ebooks and “real” books needs to account for the difference in production and distribution costs.

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