from the editor
I THINK I may be the tiniest bit addicted to my iPad, which is at hand day and night. This is bad news for Australian book retailers because I now rarely buy oldmedia books. I’m still a pushover for reading, of course, a habit that began well before I started school. As I’ve mentioned before, our family came to the television set late so we used to listen to radio, and read. A lot. I have vivid memories of lying on my bed in the room I shared with one of my sisters, churning through the library books. I can also remember the instant at which I understood that a certain combination of letters described the illustrated item in an alphabet book my mother was reading to me, and it wouldn’t be too dramatic to say it was one of the most astonishing moments of my life. To be able to read and to have that encouraged is one of the greatest blessings one can have. I understand the anguish of people who have been put out of work because of book-store closures; rather less can I understand those fighting the march of the e-book. I, for one, am buying more writers’ work than ever. Partly it’s because of the terrifying ease with which one can press the buy button, partly price, and partly because I have shelves and shelves of stuff I won’t read again but find hard to throw out (this is material no one else would want, trust me). The printing press superseded those who copied books by hand for the few; electronic transmission is, similarly, a way of spreading the word far more widely than ever. How wonderful.