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