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Electric Books

So Amazon has now included Israel as one of the places that its digital books are available, and I have just downloaded Murakami's After the Quake to my Ipod Touch, which is also supposed to sync with Kindle for PC. And this makes buying books really easy. At least, the ones which are available. Amitav Ghosh's Sea of Poppies, which I wanted more, is not yet available. But surely it's only a matter of time before every new book will appear in electronic format - with perhaps a similar delay as exists between hardcover and paperback versions.

The first digital book I read was Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone, which I downloaded for free to my old Psion palm computer. I quite enjoyed it, although a Psion isn't ideal for reading. I've tried another couple of books on the Ipod and PC, but haven't got very far with them. I've a feeling that there may be a problem with digital books similar to the problem of movies on TV. A film watched in a movie theater catches the attention much more easily than one watched on TV, partly because there is no temptation for channel surfing. Computers have even worse possibilities for distraction. A digital book has to compete with a dozen other things that require less concentration. A printed book has none of these distractions.

Perhaps, after all, the Kindle, being monochrome and offering less possibilities than Apple's new device, will remain a better device for reading.