While half-watching a basketball game last weekend with the sound off, I happened to look up when a commercial for the iPhone came on: just a hand and the phone, nothing fancy, but captivating enough, I guess, that I found myself turning the sound on and leaning forward a little. The hand onscreen was scrolling through a selection of e-books on its virtual iBook shelves, and I felt a frisson when I saw that the hand had a Paul Auster novel in its collection.
I'm not a huge Auster fan, but seeing a book by a serious writer on a TV commercial–wait, was I really seeing this? Then the hand scrolled down to look at some other shelves, and there was, okay, something by Nelson Mandela, Julia Child's memoir, and then–are you kidding?–Infinite Jest. The hand clicked through to the Julia Child first chapter for a second before deciding it needed to purchase something. It clicked a “best sellers” tab and went straight for–what?–Cormac McCarthy, before coming back to earth somewhat and plunking down for a Stieg Larsson. (more…)