Friday, July 13, 2012

The Biggest Development in the History of Ebooks

OK, so maybe the title of the post is a bit of hyperbole, but not much.  Marcel Proust’s six-volume novel In Search of Lost Time is now available as a single one-volume ebook for a mere $49.99. Having lugged an old two-volume hardcover edition back and forth on the train for 8-10 months, been blown away by the beautiful and subtle prose, floored by moments of breathtaking wisdom, and slowly convinced that In Search of Lost Time is probably the greatest novel ever written, it’s kind of hard to describe just how excited I am this ebook edition has finally come out.

It's even a bit of a deal. If you bought each volume individually it would cost about $70 depending on which editions you purchased, but that isn’t why I’m so excited. For the first time, readers can truly experience In Search of Lost Time as a singular work and use all the advantages of ebooks to explore it as such. We’ll be able to search in text for phrases, images, and terms to see how they are used throughout the entire book, without having to cobble it together volume by volume. The notes you take in Swann’s Way, will be right there for you when reading Time Regained.  And the entire novel will be in one convenient location.  Sodom and Gomorrah will be right there when you finish The Guermantes Way.

To me, this is what ebooks are for; removing some of the material inconveniences from the experience of reading. And if there is a great book with a bunch of material inconveniences between it and readers, it’s Proust’s absolute masterpiece, In Search of Lost Time.

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