The new face of books

Like many industries, in this current economy in America, the publishing world is in upheaval.  It’s been fascinating to read blogs by agents, writers, readers and publishers about this “new” venue for story – the ebook.  (It’s been around for years.)  Comments after these posts show a high passion for both, the traditional book and the ebook/ereader.   The debates range from what makes a book real/readable, formats and feel, compatibility, and copyright laws for electronic rights.  (Google blew this issue wide open by posting 98% of some new novels – without permission.)

Relax, dear readers.  The introduction of ebooks into the mainstream publishing houses will not strip bookstore or library shelves clean.  Those dusty tomes and a wealth of new books and novels will be published for many years to come.  Horror stories of attempting to read Moby Dick on your cell phone, will not materialize, unless you chose to…

Textbooks, reference books and all kinds of non-fiction will continue to appear in print, the ebook format right now is best suited for novels, anthologies, poetry, biographies and essay collections – to name a few types.   Newspapers and cookbooks have already transitioned to web based formats and aren’t ebook friendly.

My husband Ed has always been on the leading edge of high tech, flying Mach 2 with his hair on fire.  I’ve been writing on computers since since 1982, when Ed came home with a huge box of electronics to replace the spiral notebooks and pens I used to write my stories.  🙂   Now the world of publishing is changing.  Story is being shared through Kindles, Sony readers, Jet Books and eSlicks. (Links and research are credited to Delle Jacobs)

I chatted with Marcy Dodge, RWA 2005 Bookseller of the year, about our shared new passion for the trade-paperback size.  We both like it, for reading, and many ebooks are also available as trade-paperbacks, but at triple the cost of the ebook.  I read tons of mass-market paperbacks, because that’s where I find the stories I want to read, but I really dislike the size, feel, font and flimsiness of paperbacks.  There’s no appeal for me, to curl up by the fire with the tiny screen of a Blackberry.  I not too sure about taking an electronic device to the beach either, I lost a digital camera to sand and surf because I wanted a picture of my grandson splashing…

Even the Kindle2 is too much like a paperback for my taste.  I’d like an “e-reader” I can open like a book, and be the size of a 5×7 envelope.  Two full pages, to read, before I have to press a button to turn the page.  I don’t read a book for bells and whistles, graphics or dynamics.  I read to travel through time and place, with an author who dedicated a year or more of their passion and talent, for me, the reader, and a few hours of my time.  I open a book to connect to story.

It’s the story that matters, through the voice of the author, polished with the talents of an editor.   How this is presented and available to readers may take on many forms in the next few years.  I’m sure the connection between author and reader will remain a special and intimate journey.

And with all this scuttle about the ereaders, ebooks can be bought, to read on your computer, for free…

2 thoughts on “The new face of books

  1. nice analysis. Methinks that digital books won’t be as destructive to the industry as digital music was to the record companies. One reason: the physical, ‘touchy’ component is just too strong with books. Even with cheap, throwaway paperbacks … tacile is everything. So there is less to fear from that end.

    what is at stake is committed readers … and the numbers of those. Does the web encourage us to digest and receive stories via screen than via page? I think it has an effect. but amazon is running as strong as ever, so the imminent demise of book publishing is grossly exaggerated …


  2. “the imminent demise of book publishing is grossly exaggerated …”

    I totally agree, especially since publishing is a global industry and not targeted to only those who Twitter. Children’s picture books are an important part of that initial tactile world of wonder.


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