A letter published in the Wall St. Journal.
I would add only one thing to Henry Hitchings’s excellent review of Keith Houston’s “The Book” (“From Sheepskins to E-Books,” Bookshelf, Aug. 30). Anyone who loves printed books and is concerned about the effect of technology on their continued existence can take comfort from the following observations of Neil Gershenfeld who, as director of the Center for Bits and Atoms at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is an authority on the subject. He points out that books: “boot instantly; have a high contrast, high-resolution display; is viewable from any angle, in bright or dim light; permits fast random access to any page; provides instant visual and tactile feedback on the location; can be easily annotated; requires no batteries or maintenance; [and] is robustly packaged.” A laptop or an e-book meets exactly none of those specifications. As Mr. Gershenfeld says: “If the book had been invented after the laptop it would be hailed as a great breakthrough.”
John C. Webb
My sentiments exactly.