Once upon a time, my Uncle Jack’s Sea Scout Manual was part of my personal library. Time and tide have swept Uncle Jack’s copy out to sea, but I’ve retained fond memories of it, with its illustrations of how to tie knots and instructions on how to read a chart. Coming across another edition of the Sea Scout Manual on Amazon recently, I couldn’t help but buy it.
The dog-eared copy came from a used book dealer who sells through Amazon, (There will be no used e-book dealers…) and had been owned at one time by Jack Rusta, who signed his name in a big round hand using a fountain pen. And on the title page, someone (Jack? or maybe one of his shipmates?) drew this wonderful sketch –
With an e-book, how will we have this kind of serendipitous encounter? Will we be able to glimpse the charm of a causal doodle that suggests the moment in which it was drawn? What will become of marginalia? Of ticket stubs used as bookmarks?