Still Hard to Digest, but Digital Books May Have a Future

The Los Angeles Times carried this column on writers and thier feelings on e-books.
\"Writers tend to be Luddites,\" said Steve Wasserman, book review editor of The Times. He noted how Gore Vidal still writes his novels in longhand, on legal pads, and then has those pages transcribed. Vidal still believes that the tactile feel of a pen in hand is important to the creative process, the way many readers think that the feel of a book and its pages are essential to the appreciation of writing. But Wasserman believes that e-books may expand the choices for readers.\"

\" Like many people, I cherish my books, even though I own far more than I have room to store and I probably haven\'t looked at the majority of them since I bought them. The idea of an electronic book, with its presumption not of reverence but of impermanence and pure functionality, seems alien and vaguely unsettling\"\"The recent BookExpo America convention in Chicago featured more than 60 digital book vendors, triple the number last year. Everyone in the publishing industry woke up when mega-author Stephen King sold about half a million online copies, at $2.50 each, of his 33-page short story \"Riding the Bullet\" within 48 hours in March.\"
\"Still, the industry has a long way to go to perfect the technology for electronic books. Screen legibility, the biggest complaint until recently, has improved and is no longer a serious obstacle for reading text on a screen. But e-books still need a power source, they need better and faster ways to download online material, and they should be more versatile--so you don\'t have to carry both an e-book and a laptop. The material available for e-books needs to expand dramatically.\"
\"Writers have tended to be skeptical of electronic books, but that may be changing.\"
\"Books aren\'t going to go away,\" he said. \"Just as radio continued to exist after TV appeared, books will be with us even after we\'re all used to e-books. But the role of books may change.\"

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