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Looking Cool on the Bus

It will be interesting to see the inevitable Christmas stats surrounding book sales during the festive season. Not because of the copy-and-paste type articles about ‘the demise of the physical book’ or ‘physical vs digital’ or ‘people reading more than ever’ blah-blah-blah… but with sales of e-readers.

A couple of months ago I read an article printed at the Frankfurt Book Fair with Michael Tamblyn – Chief Content guy at Kobo. The pertinent question was posed to him that, now with people accessing books via i-pads and tablets, where is the relevancy of a dedicated e-reader. His response was defensive and vague and championed the public’s desire for reading.

Hmmm. but isn’t this pretty familiar? Isn’t this the same line of questioning we’ve seen in the blah-blah articles about physical books over the last five years?

People love their gadgets – as evidenced by the latest Nespresso craze – but in the end we’re largely creatures of habit and everything old is new again. Will this happen with books? Who knows? Certainly not this little black duck. However, as someone who loves peering at book covers on public transport to see what people are reading, I’m looking forward to a reversion in people’s attitudes.

If you’re willing to accept style advice from a bookseller – and who wouldn’t 😉 – e-readers serve a functional purpose, but everyone’s got one now and it’s pretty much old-hat. If you want to look cool on the bus, go with a bumped around Hemingway or Chandler paperback. Rest assured, people will peer and know.