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The chess e-book revolution

The chess e-book revolution

Oct 3, 2013, 6:24 AM 0

How many chess books do you own?  And, more to the point, how many of them have you properly read or studied?  I'll confess that my personal chess book owned:studied ratio is probably about 5:1.  There are some chess books -- a select few -- that I truly love and have read many times.  But I've also given away lots of chess books because I know that I will never get round to reading them.  It might be that I am supremely lazy, but I suspect I am one of many repeat chess-book purchasers, where the purchased books end up unread on a shelf.

But why?  If I buy a novel or any other type of non-fiction book, the chances are that I will read it - and probably sooner rather than later.  I think the answer to why chess books remain uniquely unread is that there is a natural barrier to reading them - namely that nine times out of ten, you will need get a chess board and pieces out (or at the very least, get your laptop fired up with Chessbase or whatever open) to get anything like full value out of a chess book. And for most adults with busy lives, this simply isn't going to happen very often. 

I think, however, that technology might now have reached the point where that barrier to reading chess books has been removed.  I started playing chess again in 2002, and ever since then, chess e-books have, of course, been available in pgn format (I'm talking proper books here, not just files of unannoted games).  However, the number of e-books available has recently exploded, with Everyman now having a huge catalogue of books available.

But the really important change, for me at least, is the relatively recent availability of instant-on, truly portable iPads and other tablets.  I've got a Google Nexus and my chess-book-reading app of choice is Chess PGN Master Pro (see photo).

My Nexus is a new purchase, so these are exciting times for me - it feels like I'll be able to truly read and appreciate some great chess books whenever I've got a spare 10-15mins.  Of course, the excitement might fade, and I could just end up with a lot of unread e-books rather than physical books.  But it feels different; it feels like the biggest barrier to chess book reading has gone forever.  Here's to the chess e-book revolution!

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