from the edi­tor

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Contents - Deb­o­rah Jones

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.


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