I recently had the bruising experience of being invited to write a piece for the Guardian book blog about my decision to step down as Director of Booktrust to set up the Bookfutures project, an idea still at a very formative stage. One weekend and over 100 blog entries later I emerged, staggered by the intensity and the unpleasantness of the ensuing debate. This wasn't mindless abuse, but clever people, mixing articulate argument with a level of personal sniping that wouldn't happen in any other public setting. Re-reading it is painful, but there's lots of food for thought. The Guardian chose to headline the piece "Embrace the Digital Revolution", which set me up to appear particularly naive and evangelical. However I now have some juicy quotes from that particular out house of the public domain.

One participant in the Guardian Blogathon said this:

“I don't want to read books on a screen - not even an all singing all dancing flexible paper screen. I don't want poetry to scroll across the page, I don't want to go to read wuthering heights and get a little message box that tells me 'we apologise but this book is no longer available by subscription.' I don't have the scruples about buying books that I do about CDs because I know the format will not go out of date and even if I don't want to keep a book I can pass it on to family and friends or bring it to a charity shop where it will find a good home. The fact is there is no incentive to read digital books when the paper version is so convenient and accessible.”

To read the whole painful discussion CLICK HERE . Then again, I wouldn't bother.


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