Computers and digital media are changing everything we do these days, whether we realize it or not, and that includes our beloved books.So Time Magazine is just now getting the word that digital publishing is the big new thing. That's why I don't read Time Magazine anymore. Oops. That was snarky, wasn't it? Sorry.
Tell us what you think. Do you have an ebook reader? Do you read ebooks on your computer? Do you hate the very thought? How do you feel about the fact that book publishing is changing and facing much the same existential dilemma as the music industry upon the creation of MP3s?
I guess I'm definitely a paper person – I'd much rather read a "real" book than an e-book. I love books as objects – always have. I like reading them, but I also like the way they feel when I hold them in my hand, and the way they look when they're arranged on my shelves, and even the way the paper and ink smell. As John Updike said, I love "the smell of glue and the shiny look of the jacket and the type."
But times and things change. I can see that digital publishing is obviously the way of the future. I don't have an e-book reader, but I confess to downloading a few texts from the Gutenberg Project to read on my computer. I can understand the attractions of the Kindle and its ilk, and I realize that any fight against them is probably a losing battle. But I doubt that I'll be acquiring one anytime soon.
Now about this whole "self-publishing" concept – well, that's much too involved to get into in a "comment." And I don't know that I really have much of an opinion on it anyway. But I don't really see that going digital is going to make all that much difference – after all, people have been self-publishing for centuries. And sometimes that's a bad thing, but sometimes it's a good thing. Years ago, I used to edit a poetry magazine, and consequently received massive quantities of "self-published" books (what used to be called vanity press books). And most of them, quite frankly, were dreck. But every now and then I'd come across a tiny jewel amidst the sea of unreadable nonsense. And I think the digital self-publishing phenomenon is not too different, really – except, of course, there's no formal editing process to weed out the stinkers!
Oh, and here, as promised, is my gratuitous photo of the day – a portrait of that great self-publisher Thomas Paine, whose birthday is today (born January 29, 1737).
Source: Wikipedia Commons