Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday he had no problem with children preferring electronic books to printed ones, as long as they read.
"We should encourage reading in all forms, including the latest, the most modern, as long as our young people want to read," Medvedev said during a joint meeting of the state councils on science and culture in the Moscow Region city of Istra.
The president recounted how his son's interest was piqued by an electronic version of Mikhail Lermontov's classic novel A Hero of Our Time.
"Yesterday we searched for A Hero of Our Time on the Internet, a well-known book, a classic," Medvedev said. "We found it, no problem, downloaded it, and then the young man got the desire to have a look. But the book lies there, untouched."
"There is nothing bad in it," he said, adding that all such opportunities should be used.
The head of state confessed, however, that in the beginning he was put off by electronic books, preferring the feel of a book in his hands, the turn of the page, the smell.
"But then I got used to it and I like it," he said, adding that there are lots of sources in the Internet and it is absolutely irreplaceable when traveling.
Medvedev noted that a standard e-reader costs some $100 - not the $500 of the top models. "It is much cheaper than it seems," he said.
Electronic books, or e-books, or digital books, a digital equivalent to standard printed paper books are growing in popularity worldwide because of their convenience.
Russia has no less than 400 widely accessible public, research and educational electronic libraries, and there are several thousand small electronic collections made by organizations or private individuals.
ISTRA, Moscow Region, April 22 (RIA Novosti )