“I’ll Never Read From a Screen”

With the launch of the Apple iPad just days away in the UK, I’ve been reading reviews of the device in the popular press (a typical article here).

First let me state that I probably will never buy an iPad unless I’m forced to do so. But one good thing it’s done already is apparently kill off – stone dead – the idiotic notion that ebooks will never take off because they lack a mystical property of paper that makes reading from a screen somehow against human nature.

What was previously de rigour when discussing anything that presented itself as something on which you might be expected to read large amounts of text, is now seemingly taboo. Not a single iPad review I have seen in the last couple of weeks refers to this hitherto insurmountable problem.

Of course, there is nothing magical about the iPad that makes reading from its screen any easier than a Kindle or a Sony Reader (or even a boring old laptop). It’s just that the cult of Apple is so strong that what was once a required criticism is now suddenly not an issue. Good. Bring on the final death of dead tree media, and with it the end of the last shackles of the information age. There will be plenty of problems to fix in the future, but wondering what to do about Caxton’s ghost is not now one of them.