Last night I impetuously ordered Pynchon’s new book on my iPad, as an iBook. I haven’t started to read it yet. Maybe on a plane in a few weeks.
In contrast, the other day I came across an old paperback Jerzy Kosinski, Blind Date, that I started rereading. Each day it lay on the floor by my bed or on my coffee table, cover oxidized brown and broken off, face down open to the pages I had reached the night before, spine split. When I came home, there it was, pleading to be picked up and finished off.
There is something about a physical book that demands either completion or being put back on the shelf. An ebook just sits there in information land, invisible, pleading to no one. You have to want to read it much more to actually read it.
PS 1. And I am talking about novels, not technical books with equations and diagrams and proofs which require frequent page flipping that is impossible on an ebook.
PS 2. Kosiniski has been forgotten. He’s grotesque, kind of violence-porn, but a good writer.