There’s a certain circular conversation a particular friend and I have reasonably frequently. It begins with him asking me whether some new eReader app for the iPhone is any good. I tell him the Kindle one is okay, but reading books on the tiny screen is a pretty ordinary experience. We then talk about eReaders for a while, and about the relative merits of the Kindle and the Iliad and the Sony machine, agreeing as we do that it’s stupid that they’re all non-convergent, and that while the new Kindle pulls in blog content and newspapers, it’s still doesn’t let you browse the internet. Usually we then pause to diss that other non-convergent cul de sac, the Blackberry, and for him to tell me again how much he hates his iPhone. Then I do my speech about how there’s a device waiting to be made which is somewhere between a tablet computer, a Kindle and a netbook, a networkable device capable of managing all types of media including ebooks. Sometimes I digress a bit into the question of how such a device will necessarily drive changes to the interface of ebooks, allowing publishers to embed video and sound and animation. And then, finally, he complains that all he wants is something he can read on the crapper that will let him check his email and take calls if he needs to (I always wish he hadn’t added in that final detail).
Anyway, it seems Japanese author Koji Suzuki (author of the books The Ring movie was based upon) may have come up with a novel solution to my friend’s dilemma. Crunchgear is reporting his new book, Drop, won’t be published between covers, but on a roll of toilet paper. Apparently the “book” is being marketed as “Japan’s creepiest toilet paper”, and is being sold through supermarkets rather than bookshops, and while it won’t check email or take calls, it’s probably easier to read than the Kindle app for the iPhone.
(Thanks to Janiece for the heads-up)