Do we still need books, or has the Internet philosophy of “small pieces loosely joined” killed them? Overall, the market for books is not buoyant and is being nibbled away by video, games, mobile phone messenger apps, and of course, Facebook (like it or not). But do we still need books? When I wrote the latest edition of Principles of Molecular Virology, I wrote in the preface:
In the age of the Internet, why would anyone write a textbook about virology?
(If you’re interested, the answer is here.)
But Principles of Molecular Virology is an old fashioned paper book, although you can also get an old fashioned eBook version if you want one. Edward Rybicki and Russell Kightley have written two “modern” eBooks, which you can read onscreen, or use the images and interactive graphics in them via a digital projector or TV screen in talks and lectures:
Both of these short book are beautifully produced and illustrated and you can buy them via the links above, but to read them you’ll need Apple’s iBooks app on iPad, iPhone or Macintosh. But the question keeps nagging at me, Do we still need books? And if we do, are these the books we need?