Robert McCrum, in yesterday's Observer, provided a thoughtful article on the future of the book. (Link from booktrade.info.)
I hope it will not seem immodest if I say that the article does not really tell you anything that you won't have read here: in fact as recently as last Monday (see the last two paragraphs of my piece on the Sunday Times). But McCrum is on first-name terms with all the big hitters in publishing, and comes up with direct quotes which neatly encapsulate their thoughts.
For me, the most interesting points are made by Dick Brass and Richard Charkin. Brass is a retired Microsoft Vice-President, with wide experience of e-readers, and he believes that it may take as much as ten to fifteen years to produce an electronic device which provides a reading experience close to that of the book. And Charkin, chief executive of Macmillan and President of the UK Publishers Association, says that he spends four-fifths of his time worrying about technology. He adds that 'none of the big general UK book publishers [Random House, HarperCollins, Penguin] has really embraced the new technology.' Which is another point that has been made here from time to time.
Charkin, by the way, has his own blog, about a month old, and already attracting a large readership. I am flattered to discover that the GOB is one of only two blogs listed in his blogroll. But I'm sure that won't last long.