British publishing exec Scott Pack talks a little sense when it comes to the integration of books and handheld technology:
“The iPod allows you to listen to Shostakovich on the train, Kate Nash on the walk to the office and then Radiohead at your desk.
“But it doesn’t work like that with books. You don’t want to read James Joyce on the train, Maeve Binchy while you’re walking and John Grisham at your desk.
“I’ve got every album I own on my iPod and can listen to anything I want whenever I want. But books are already portable and even if they weren’t, you don’t need to transport your entire library around wherever you go.”
“Factors which were very important on the music side, just aren’t at all with books.”
However, he argues that new technology will eradicate the cookbook, and we’ve heard that one before. As Chris Anderson points out in his recent article on free economies, people first thought that the home PC would only be useful for recipe filing, and look how that turned out.