What’s a ‘book’ then?

This morning’s Observer column.

These two developments – the Economist’s app and Eagleman’s ‘book’ – ought to serve as a wake-up call for the print publishing industry. The success of Amazon’s Kindle has, I think, lulled print publishers into a false sense of security. After all, they’re thinking, the stuff that goes on the Kindle is just text. It may not be created by squeezing dyes on to processed wood-pulp, but it’s still text. And that’s something we’re good at. So no need to panic. Amazon may be a pain to deal with, but the Kindle and its ilk will see us through.

If that’s really what publishers are thinking, then they’re in for some nasty surprises. The concept of a ‘book’ will change under the pressure of iPad-type devices, just as concepts of what constitutes a magazine or a newspaper are already changing…