In a recent interview published on the Globe and Mail site, author Margaret Atwood was asked: Will the world be worse off if e-books fail? In typical style Atwood responded:

Well, first let us picture what kind of event might lead to that: 1. Solar flares, which melt all the e-communication services. 2. Widespread plague, which is going to kill anyone running the companies that make them. So that being the case, I would say yes! That the world will be considerably worse off if, the next morning, you wake up and nobody’s reading anything on e-readers because the event that will have caused that is horrific!

Underneath this seemingly flippant remark Atwood suggests what many people are starting to come to terms with: e-books are here to stay, whether authors, publishers and readers like it or not. It will take a natural disaster to change this.

It’s also the subject of much of this interview in which Atwood argues that e-books may well encourage youngsters to read because they are seen as “cool” and ultimately contribute to people reading more.

You can follow Margaret Atwood on Twitter (@margaretatwood) or on her blog.