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Sunday, May 19, 2013

E-Books or Physical Books? Do We Get the Same Reading Experience? (they do coexist, you know?)

King: A book is 'an object with a nice cover.
You can swat flies with it.'

One of the interesting things I’ve discovered since blogging about things digital and print Re their interfacing in the changing publishing industry: the belief that they are mutually exclusive and are at odds with each other.

And this belief is held NOT ONLY by non-professionals that were just raised in a certain era and refuse to change --- BUT, ALSO by some supposedly educated, publishing professionals (that were just raised in a certain era and refuse to change).

I’ve received comments from literary agents, editors, booksellers, distributors and various publishers that consistently and aggressively argue, or try to argue, that print has not been changed but a wee bit due to digital tech and that it will always be as dominant as in the past!

Of course, you have to consider the source for these comments coming from pipe dreams of ones who have lost positions/money or are deathly afraid of its coming inevitability (unless they adapt,  change and grow).  

Let’s get a couple of things straight --- print IS still the dominate format in publishing and, I suspect, will be for the near future --- But, print’s dominance is being gobbled up at a light speed rate considering digital and e-books nanosecond existence compared to print’s 573 year existence (German inventor Johannes Gutenberg invented a printing press process in 1440).

Also, the print (traditional) publishing industry is, and has been for some time, shrinking down and adjusting through mergers and acquisitions, staff/structural and contract changes to tighten up, fit in and be more competitive in the new changing publishing environment --- where digital and print will be more sharing dance partners rather than adversaries.

Now for an outlook by famous author Stephen King in an interview with Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg:


Why E-Books Aren't Scary

Stephen King has filled HIS share of printed pages: Since "Carrie" was accepted for publication in the spring of 1973, he has written more than 40 books and countless short stories. His latest work, coming Nov. 9, is a collection of four stories titled "Full Dark, No Stars." In an author's afterword, Mr. King notes that he wrote one of them, "A Good Marriage," after reading a piece about Dennis Rader, the "BTK Killer" (for "bind, torture and kill") who murdered 10 people in Kansas between 1974 and 1991. He wondered what would happen if a "wife suddenly found out about her husband's awful hobby."

Mr. King is realistic about where books are headed. In digital publishing, as a writer, he's what might be called an "early adopter." Back in March 2000, Simon & Schuster Inc. issued Mr. King's story "Riding the Bullet" as an e-book that was downloaded from the Web onto hand-held devices or computers.
More recently, Mr. King's novella "Ur" was written exclusively for Amazon's Kindle e-reader when the second generation of that device went on sale in February 2009. In the interview below, Mr. King discusses his thoughts on the future of digital reading and publishing:
The Wall Street Journal: Do we get the same reading experience with e-books?
Stephen King: I don't know. I think it changes the reading experience, that it's a little more ephemeral. And it's tougher if you misplace a character. But I downloaded one 700-page book onto my Kindle that I was using for research. It didn't have an index, but I was able to search by key words. And that's something no physical book can do.






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