Mainly because I could, last night I downloaded the Lord of the Rings to my Baby-Touch-Me iPod. Fourteen bucks from Amazon’s Kindle store, not bad.
I’m all for ebooks and read them a lot, but I wonder if the format will encourage the kind of devotion to a text that my friends and I had for the Tolkien books in high school and college. I went through three paperback editions: the Baynes covers (I had a poster based on those, see left), the Tolkien watercolors (pale but evocative) and the Brothers Hildebrandt (fanboy embarrassing). The Baynes were for a boxed set ($3.00!) and in every case, having the books meant as much as reading the books. Digital culture will obviously create its own items of nostalgia (like that damned Myst music) but how will plain text fare?