Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Vote For E-Readers

From The Guardian, My Ebook Epiphany. An excerpt:

...for all this, I still needed hard evidence that e-reading was here to stay - until last week, on the train from Liverpool Street to Norwich, it happened. I saw a woman happily ensconced with her ebook, lost in the words on the screen like any reader of traditional books.

For me, this is the tipping point. All the anguished commentary in the trade press, all the anecdotes from the US about New York editors reading "manuscript" submissions on e-readers, all this dwindles beside that thirtysomething train traveller quietly at home with her Kindle.

To see a regular commuter choose an ebook over a newspaper or a magazine, a paperback or a library book, indeed over any piece of conventional print, all competing literary distractions: that seems to me to be a moment of the greatest significance.

I still firmly believe that the new technology will not eliminate the old. It's not an either/or choice. That's the lesson from the history of IT, from Caxton to Google.

But now, and increasingly, the printed word will reach new readers less on paper than through screens. Moreover, this change will seem utterly routine, unthreatening and normal.

I look forward to seeing more e-reader devices for consumers to choose from, in the same way that we have so many mp3 player options today.


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