Books are changing; but are the fundamentals of reading and writing? Seeing a reader gripped by digital Brontë made me aware that electronic books are giving literacy a new dimension. Many people like this new way of enjoying a book, and some may prefer it.
I don’t believe this technology will destroy the printed object; real books will never lose their charm. But Luddites who see today’s new ways of reading as an assault are fantasising.
A generation may return to the written word because of this technology.
But even if we agree that ebooks add a new, interesting sheen to literacy, what about the writer? Damaging publishers’ returns and reducing authors to penury will surely wreck literature? But once again, this is false nostalgia, based on the absurd proposition that writing was ever a secure, easy, practical way to make a living. How many authors make any decent money?
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