Monday, August 9, 2010

The Weight of a Book

Ahhh. Fall is in the air. Well, not really. It's been a blazing hot 98 degree day - - in NORTHERN MINNESOTA. Had to get that amazing fact out there. And I had to go 'out there' today to pick up my fall text books and other things on campus. See?

For the moment, I have some real books to hold in my hands or break my back/bank account. The 1300+ page Biology textbook costs close to a mortgage payment (think I'm kidding? ok, I have a small mortgage, but still...) The size alone of each book is intimidating and makes the commitment to the subject much more well...official. Hmm. That's funny. That Biology text looks much smaller in the picture.

In a roundabout way, my textbooks - - in my thoughts anyway - - tie in to the publishing world and the news of the day of Dorchester Publishing ceasing mass market print production in favor of e-books and print-on-demand only. Read the Wall Street Journal article here.

Wow. More than any other news of the e-book trend, this one stands out. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but I can't help give a sigh of dismay at this news. I'd have to say this publisher has long been at the top of my list of the type of romance (like the LoveSpell line) I like to read and where I'd dream of selling my work. True, they aren't going out of business. Not that I know of anyway. I can still keep my dreams. But why do they seem a little less lofty?

I think it's that commitment. A physical weight. Even for a light-weight paperback, I see and feel that commitment amongst the publisher, author and reader much more clearly with a book you can hold in your hands and see in the bookstore. Now, e-books are the new commitment. I'm still adjusting. How about you?

8 comments:

  1. Ah, well, I'm a total convert to electronic publishing and adore my e-book. Think how light all those textbooks would be if you could haul them all about with a lightweight reader...

    I know that it may seem the committment is less for a publisher if they go the e-book route, but that leaves more room to take chances. To try new authors, new ideas, new books.

    It's a new world out there! We survived the death of vinyl...the transition to CD...and then the move to digital online music... This is just another step.

    Don't be discouraged!

    Maureen

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  2. Maureen, I think maybe I'd be a convert too if I had an e-book. It would be a world of difference from trying to read online from a PC, which I hate. My textbooks are also available online and often the professors send links to additional lengthy documents to read online. But my eyes and my back protest! LOL

    You're right that this is a whole new world with many new opportunities. The transition to this new world is interesting though. Hmmm. I have a vision of future bookstores filled with 'empty' covers/cases that you purchase and then download the text to an e-reader. Then our 'library' still has something to put on the shelves. How about that idea? LOL

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  3. I think I will be more enthusiastic about e-books when there's an e-reader that I am wild about. I'm still waiting for the dust to settle, and if someone GAVE me one I'm sure I'd use it and be happy with it. But I kind of feel like I'm waiting for Mr. Right to show up -- I'm fine without him, and I'm willing to wait til I can have all the features I'm looking for!

    Congrats on all the classes you're taking, Melissa. I'm impressed! That takes a lot of stamina. :)

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  4. Donna, I can relate to the waiting for Mr. Right to show up with the right features and fine without until he does! LOL

    Hmm. 'Congrats' is a great way to put all my classes that I hadn't thought of. It puts a nice spin on 'what the hell am I doing??' LOL Actually, I almost added Beginning College Algebra to the class load, but restrained myself. Along with the picking up the textbooks, my main task was to take a placement test for math (my evil nemisis). Long story, but I've been in a tutorial all summer since failing the PRE-Algebra summer session class. Well, I passed. Woo Hoo! Then, after all that, the classes are all full for fall so I'll have to wait until spring semester. Oh, well. Instead I've got a Theatre class. :)

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  5. I loved my theatre class! Now you'll be able to read your MS aloud with feeling!

    Just don't run out of tea to soothe the throat.

    I could see the empty bookcovers. It's what they do at a lot of gaming stores, to cut down on theft. The actual game is behind the counter, only thing on the shelf is the empty crystal case.

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  6. Yes, Maureen, exactly like the gaming stores. The more I think about it, the more I like this idea. *Patting myself on the back for something that will make someone else rich.* LOL Hello! Here's the way to keep the 'bells and whistles' (the back of book blurb and covers) to display a book without the cost of pages to print - - and keep bookstores around for a real shopping experience! And I'd feel like I was buying something 'real' - - even if it were an empty case. LOL

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  7. While I expect I will eventually get a Kobo, my first love will always be the print book and my first choice will alays be a print book. The Kobo will simply be for books I want to read that come in no other format by as an ebook. Though I will not enjoy the process of the read. Plus I do most of my reading while soaking in the tub. Not condusive to electronics.

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  8. I'm with you Kelly! :) My first choice will also be the print book but I get the feeling the choice may be taken away someday and I better conform or I won't be reading anything new. Not that I'll ever run out of 'out of print' books in this lifetime! LOL

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