The discussion on the future of publishing, or at least the strand that has come my way, is often about how digital is eating traditional publisher’s lunch. Techcrunch‘s John Biggs has written a few posts about this recently and the Kindle Unlimited launch and whether it is a good thing or not and Danny Crichton mused on the role of the market. Both seem to be looking at the issue from a purely digital perspective. James Robinson, a writer for Pandodaily, has published a thoughtful piece on his own experiences in crowdfunding a book via Kickstarter.
I am not going to precis the post but I found it an memorable piece on the minutiae of creating a physical object. In a sense, some of the hardwork was pre-built in as the text was from a previous blog so had been edited but further editing was required. Then the design. Minutiae that it is easy to forget in the web and assume that the same rules work in reverse.
This is why I like physical books. I like their feel. I actually enjoy turning the page and the moment of occasional hesitation and having to turn back if I think I’ve misread something. I do prefer reading fiction in hard copy. Occasionally there are memories attached to the physical object – Who gave it to me? How was I feeling when I read the book?
I don’t get this with my Kindle. I keep my technical library on it and use it that way. I can carry many books with me without having a huge bag and some publishers update the book for me. I’ve written before that I believe the future of Science, Technical and Medical publishing is probably electronic so that it gets to market in a more timely fashion and can be updated when the field moves quickly.
I don’t have the same relationship to it that I do with a physical copy. To be fair, I only get physical copies of fiction, some literature or historical studies or cookery or gardening books. Books into which I can lose myself in enjoyment for a while. I am fairly sure that other readers have different experiences. Publishers do have role to play as do physical books.
A salutory piece.