This hyperthesis or ebook is obviously not "real" in the sense that it is not physically embodied and only exists as it is displayed on the computer screen. But it is "virtually" real, in that you are able to read it and manipulate it in a number of ways, and in that it can be copied and screens printed out. The concept of virtuality is intrinsically digital, since the copy both exists (1) and does not (0). (Data is stored digitally as 1s and 0s.)

In fact, the "book" which you see on the screen exists for only so long as you read it. The primary copy remains in the memory of the computer or on CD Rom, while the computer creates an electronic copy for you to read. If you are also able to write on the book - to add to it or to make changes - the computer will then store your version when you "save" it, but the version which you next see on screen will still be a copy of your version rather than the version itself.

Dr Ju Gosling aka ju90's ABNORMAL: How Britain became body dysphoric and the key to a cure is available now for just 3.09 for the Kindle or in a limited-edition hardback with full-colour art plates for 20 inc UK postage and packing. Book cover