We often wonder what John’s reaction would have been to the Internet (to Wikipedia, to YouTube, to iSchtuff, and even the CompleatBellairs) and the rise of mobile electronic devices. For someone who wrote such a celebration of olfaction by describing a book as smelling like Old Spice talcum powder (and adding that “books that smelled that way were usually fun to read” [The House with a Clock in its Walls; 19]), it might be unfathomable for a book to exist without smells, without textures, without the chance of paper cuts, and without...well...paper.
An e-book is a book that has been converted into a digital file so that it can be read on the screen of a computer or hand held device. The publisher eReads has been in existence since 1999 and is the oldest independent digital publisher in the field bringing out-of-print books back in electronic formats - its founder is Richard Curtis, the literary agency of both Bellairs and Brad Strickland. We discovered late last month that in July eReads re-released the eight titles John wrote in the Johnny Dixon series between 1983 and 1990. Each “cover” features eye-catching colorful Victorian wallpaper designs overlapped with some sort of iconic representation of the book, be it a chess piece, a trolley car, a three-paned stained glass window, or something vaguely Egyptian-related to serve as the cursed blue figurine.
Here’s hoping these are successful enough to warrant the other Dixon titles as well as more of John’s works in an electronic format, and three cheers to seeing these classics...er...back in print!?