Books….and how to read them

I was brought up on Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome.

Absorbing each well-thumbed page from the library book, joining in another adventure in the Lake District or on the Norfolk Broads with the Jacksons (John, Susan, Titty, Roger and Bridget) and the Blacketts (Nancy and Peggy) was a childhood joy.

Somehow I can’t imagine surfing the same literary wave of youthful enthusiasm reading those classic stories on an e-book. Or am I just a bookish dinosaur?

A few years ago, many predicted the demise of traditional hard copy printed books. Everyone was jumping  on the digital bandwagon and sales of Kindle – and other e-reading devices – exploded.

But now the jury is most definitely out…..

Some claim that print is fighting back strongly against digital. Others agree that the rate of growth of e-books has – inevitably – slowed, but is still outpacing the printed medium.

Perhaps an objective view of the issue is in this Bookseller article.

Rather than seeing the print book and e-book markets as two counter-vailing forces, it may be wise to figure out how they are working together. If the big fiction bestsellers are now predominantly being bought digitally, then has this created space within book stores to focus on different books? For journalists looking to report on this sector, the narrative might be how digital has helped revive and reinvent print, rather than the other way round.

I’ve got a Kindle, but I still prefer reading a good old hard copy, fingering the arty cover with loving hands, easing a favourite bookmark between the overnight pages as I sink between the sheets, or lapping up the author’s bibliography before diving into the first chapter.

And another interesting development….just this week, Amazon – the digital behemoth, and purveyor of all-conquering e-market Kindles – have opened their first physical store, in Seattle. Clicks and mortar….following the path of other industries, as digital and physical worlds realise they can happily co-exist, after all.

Or will the next chapter paint a different picture…….?



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