Look over at your bookshelf – is it dust-ridden and neglected? Empty of new titles, just filled with forlorn, sagging books that were read years ago and now abandoned?
Yeah. I thought so.
The digital age is upon us.
Even “Queen of the Bonkbuster” Jackie Collins is experimenting with digital self-publication with a new edition of The Bitch. Star of 27 Hours and Creative Writing PhD graduate, James Franco, will be publishing his novel Actors Anonymous under online giant Amazon’s publishing arm – whose little black book also includes Deepak Chopra.
Working in publishing, digital publishing looms ever closer – even for educational texts. We are asked to think more and more about a digital option, and what impact digital publications will have.
There are varying opinions on digital publishing – from snooty disdain, to dismissal, to poorly shielded excitement. But whatever you feel about it – whether you see it as an easy form of self-publishing or the brand new generation of books – it’s coming, and it will be big.
My feeling? I haven’t quite figured that bit out yet.
I don’t have a tablet to read electronic books, so I still carry a tome of paper sheaves in my bag – tattered and dog eared and marked with tea stains – I still browse the Waterstones bookshelves with glee, and I still love the smell of real books. So maybe I’m one of the Old School – who turns their nose up at these new-fangled doobries that conjure hundreds of books at the swipe of a finger.
But who am I to disregard the future? The convenience of one, slim, flat machine in a bag, with the variety of a whole library. The ability to simply log on and download something brand new, sitting on a train or in the middle of nowhere. Newer, cheaper, faster, more convenient. What could be so wrong with that?
The piece where I take issue is the idea that some books will only be available on a tablet. How is this fair? For someone like me, who has no access to a Kindle or an iPad, I won’t be able to read these books, purely for the reason that I’ve not got the money to spend on something I don’t need yet (I have 3 bookshelves of books waiting to be read). It’s all well and good encouraging a new form of publication, opening the market again to new and different writers. But why are these books good enough to be read electronically, but not on paper? Surely they are the same words, same story?
Anyway, I digress.
What do you think of the brand spanking new Digital Age?
[And stop laughing at the word spanking]