Thursday, November 04, 2010

Five Books

"Nobody reads any more these days."

The words of one of the owners of a second-hand bookshop I visit from time to time. The fact that this is being said as I am handing her some money in exchange for some books is lost in the ironical wash.

So. Is it true? Does nobody, apart from a few (fool)hardy individuals who are members of a bibliophilic species rapidly approaching extinction, read any more "these days"?

I think not.

The format and technology of reading has certainly changed, but the reading matter is still there. Think websites, blogs, Twitter, Kindles and iPads.

Speaking of these new formats and technologies, how's this for an idea to put old wine into new wineskins? Set up a website where experts, or enthusiasts (a much more agreeable description in my view), recommend the best five books (yes, books) on their subjects. And the quote-unquote business model? Small commissions on every resulting Amazon sale. Both ingenious and simple, is it not?

Behold: Five Books.

Here are Walter Isaacson's best five books on Einstein, for example. He modestly leaves out his own excellent biography.

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