I came across this little snippet from Sumant Srivathsan, in Bombay, on his use of the Kindle, that gives a concise description of why digital (non-paper) books hold much practical appeal for people in much of the the non-US world. I sometimes hear talk about eBooks being elitist, which I think is a fairly US/European-centric view — For people in the tropical world, especially Africa, I’d guess that it’s pretty much a question of digital reading or no reading, in the near future. Here are Srivathsan’s down-to-earth words:

Like any self-respecting reader, I have a healthy collection of books, and consequently, an overflowing bookcase. I also live in Bombay, where every enemy of books – heat, humidity, dust, shortage of space – exists in abundance. As a result, half my library rests in a quiet corner in my mother’s apartment in Madras, waiting for the day when they can finally claim a place of their own in my home. I try to keep my books well, without tears, creases, folds, dog-ears or any form of marking. Given that much of my reading takes place on the trains and stations of Bombay’s local train system, this is far from easy to do, especially when one hand is occupied in desperately holding on to an available support for the duration of the commute. My success rate at book maintenance stands at about 40 per cent.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

2 thoughts on “The Pull of eBooks in India & the Two-Thirds World

  1. Hi Brian! Yes, although it’s a different issue from eBooks in the tropics, piracy of eBooks would seem to be a big problem. Interestingly, though, Googling ebooks piracy indicates there are many people who think it might not be such a bad thing for the industry. It would at least show that eBooks have really taken off, and it would force publishers to find a way to deal with the issue. So far they haven’t had to worry much about it because eBooks haven’t yet been a booming success, and there hasn’t been much piracy.

    Thanks for bringing my attention to the problem of this blog’s too-tight spam control — Your comment DID get come through, and I DO check all comments, including spam, and approve the non-spam ones.

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