Saturday, March 10, 2012

Romanticizing the Paper

"Though the middle ground may eventually disappear - paperback fiction, for example - the ongoing rise of ebooks should actually encourage the making of beautiful physical books. Readers want the volumes they keep on their shelves to be as striking and as sensory as possible. And so, while most publishers are racing to keep up with the conquest of the screen, the true mavericks may well be people who are doing something very old-fashioned very well."  More

When reading the passage above I feel almost a romantic atmosphere illuminating in the words. It does cause me to wonder more about the future of books than perhaps any prognostication of the future or any pontification from the many already sold on electronics publications that I've read in the past couple of years about the future of books. Could there be a resonance in hard back books around the corner?  
I’ve made it pretty clear in past blog posts that I like my books with real pages.  I do have an e-reader on my phone and I have both a Kindle for PC and Nook for PC on my laptop.  I don’t use them a lot and I suppose one reason is that I don’t like to pay the price of a book for a digital file.  It’s a hang-up, yes.  I will admit it, but it remains a fact. One that I have had since day one of my introduction to e-books and it hasn’t eroded any that I can tell.
There are plenty of people that for one reason or another have trouble accepting e-books, I run across them routinely.  I suspect that at some point many of these hold outs, myself included may soften to e-books, but for many of us e-readers are not the novelty that they are for others.  I know this because while I’ve been easily drawn to many electronic gadgets this hasn’t happened where e-readers are concerned.
If and when I do gravitate more towards acceptance, I can tell you that I am likely to find the real novelty will be in that which still has paper pages to turn.  So will there become a cottage industry for those small presses that turn out books in smaller numbers in hardback?  Will the future choice be to order an e-book or a hardback?  Will most books be published as e-books and then after being out a while the really successful ones go to hardback, a sort of reverse of the traditional publishing paradigm?

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