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'The creation of a new artform'

15 September 2008

'As ebook readers become more affordable, publishers will produce electronic versions of books with the usual notes and introductions and the prices of both the devices and the books will come down. And that's only the beginning.What's most exciting about ebooks is not what they can do at the moment but what they may do in the future. The iLiad can connect to the internet: imagine reading Middlemarch and, at a touch, of a button, being able to look at images of the same paintings and sculptures Dorothea looks at in Rome or, for academics, being able to see links to all articles which reference the passage you're reading.

Works written specially for the ebook reader are an even more exciting prospect. A piece of 'ebook native' fiction may allow you to hear the birdsong while reading a romantic outdoor scene, or may automatically subscribe you to a fictional newspaper mentioned in a crime thriller. Some will consider such things gimmicky and a threat to 'proper' reading, but different kinds of text can co-exist... What we're seeing isn't the death of the book, but the creation of a new art form.

Naomi Alderman, author of Disobedience, in the Observer