This event was organised by the History Department at
where I'm one of the Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellows. It was part of the Essex Literary Festival. Essex University
I was interested in Nigel Cochrane's thoughts about e books. As an academic librarian, he sees them as here to stay but at the moment they are expensive; there’s VAT to be paid on e books unlike volume books and publishers are charging academic libraries very high prices for e books and then making them re-buy, having imposed a limited license.
The categories, it was agreed, that are unlikely to succumb completely to e books are cookery books (nobody wants their kindle covered in grease) and children’s picture books. There was a discussion as to whether very young children can retain information from a screen in the same way they can from a book.
I firmly believe, from my observations at Waterstones signings, that there are enough discerning parents looking to foster a love of reading in their very young children for there always to be a niche market for high quality picture books.