Monday, December 22, 2008

Long live books ...

... `The Habits of a Lifetime'.

I think the time of books draws to a close’ with some confidence, but I can’t make up my mind about that idea. A serious interest in books has always been a minority taste. By nature I’m an anti-utopian and pretty grim-minded, but I think a lively underground of readers and writers has a chance of flourishing with the aid of the Internet. We’re only just beginning to learn what it will look like – perhaps we’re forging some of the `rules’ right now. I’m not a technologically adept person and I’m a natural-born skeptic, but I also know I’ve made some excellent friends thanks to the blog. It’s not the same as sitting around the dining room table shooting the shit but it’s gratifying and I’ve learned a hell of a lot. I wouldn’t have predicted this a decade ago.

I am optimistic about the future of books. I don't think that the internet is going to eliminate books any more than Velveeta has eliminated Delice de Bourgogne. I think there is going to be an artisanal book business as there is now an artisanal cheese business. I think POD technololgy is going to enable persons of modest means to publish books - including many out of print and past copyright - because they believe in them and want to and can. The book remains the most convenient vehicle for reading. The Kindle is fine for travel and commuting and for books you want to read, but don't feel you need to have and don't want to pay the full price for.

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