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"Champion of the book" William H. Gass publishes on iPad

Mel Martin

It's a marker of our changing times. William Gass, long a critic of the Internet and a supporter of the printed, rather than the electronic word, has published on e-book readable only on an iPad. In an interesting New York Times interview, Gass says he isn't so down on the Internet and technology now.

"I know a lot more about its virtues. Like everything else in this world, you have to fight for the value. Wikipedia is full of mistakes and stupidities, but it has its uses. In the last 10 years, I've seen the Internet improve. It can send us off on little voyages, like being in a library and looking down a row of books."

The e-book Gass has written is called "Abstractions Arrive", co-authored with photographer Michael Eastman. It's a 15,000 word essay on modern art and photography by Gass, along with illustrative images. It's US$4.99 at the iBook store.

I too mourn the loss of books, and have rooms brimming with publications on all subjects. Many will never be available in electronic form. Having said that, I now prefer reading on my iPad, and many of my new purchases are from the Apple or Amazon stores. The ease of reading in a darkened room, the ability to find any word or phrase, and not having to look all over for the book are real benefits.

Still, there is a magic about books that will never diminish. How about you -- have you given up on the paper variety of books, are you living in both worlds, or are you fully an e-book fan?

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