Digital media distribution is inexorably becoming part of the landscape. Last week games retail recorded another low as Valve unveiled Big Picture For Steam, the iPhone5 was launched and new Kindles announced.
Even in a digital consuming household we accept that viewing content made up of 0s and 1s isn’t the only answer. My son, who barely knows what a music CD is, is saving up for a Doctor Who boxed set – “and I want it on proper DVD, not a download”. I’ve managed to get halfway through the biography of World War II spy Christine Granville on the Kindle before realising I haven’t a clue who has written the book, despite the fact that I’m enjoying it immensely. That would be unthinkable with a traditional printed book with the author’s name emblazoned on the cover and possibly on the header or footer of each page as well. It’s also unfair on Clare Mulley, who has researched her subject meticulously and written a racy biography of an extraordinary woman.
I’m also missing the glossy 2-3 pages in the middle with the grainy photos that so often help to bring the subject and their setting to life. Clearly this is one book I should have bought as a book, which is not the case with the last three that I read digitally.
Sometimes it’s not just the content itself, but the way it’s presented – the trimmings and the additional info, that make it desirable and satisfying to own.
Christina Erskine is normally a champion of the digital download – but which content do you like to own in its ‘traditional’ format? Discuss with her @cersk on Twitter.