Robert McCrum on e-reading in the Observer today:

Today, innovation diffusion is accelerated. Some say that "electronic time" is faster than real time. In other words, that the book is about to become engulfed by an "iPod moment" for literature, analogous to the transformation wrought on the music industry by the download revolution.

Who knows? Music and text are fundamentally different. But one thing is certain: ebooks are cool, and fahionable. In the US, Oprah has declared the Kindle her "favourite new gadget". Trend-savvy authors, who used to hesitate before leasing the electronic rights to their work, are coming round to a changed market. According to the New York Times, both John Grisham and Danielle Steel are expected soon to be adding their titles to the ebook catalogue.

It's already happening here. I have just received a report from a very traditional publisher announcing a surge in e-book sales for one of its authors. The name of this geeky new writer? PD James, the queen of crime, aged 88.

Pictures of the new improved, pencil-thin (so far US only) Kindle from mobileread


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