A quick blog post this week (in the process of publishing 2 new books for clients, so it’s all go here at The Book Refinery!) on a fascinating interview with Ian Sansom on Mariella Frostrup’s Radio 4 Open Book show last month.
We all have seen the rise of the e-Book phenomenon, and no one can deny that this technology is here to stay, However books and paper are still hugely in demand and it would be premature to assume that printed books are on their way out.
I don’t know about you, but I love the feel and weight of a printed book, and still can spend hours browsing a book shop, glossy covers glinting at you, begging to be touched and opened. In fact the last time I was in a book shop was to see Sir Roger Moore (I’m a bit of a Bond fan) and he kindly signed 2 books for me – can’t see how a kindle or an e-book can achieve that!
In the radio interview, which explores Ian’s new book Paper- An Elegy, it’s suggested that a new manuscript is published every 30 seconds and when we pick up a book we are picking up a testament to industry and ingenuity. He also goes onto say that books are used as a status symbol in a way of displaying knowledge, even if they (the reader) never even reads the books on show – so it begs the question: Why have books become such a status symbol?
Here is Ian’s reply
“We identify the contents of the book – the information they contain – with the books themselves. We can’t divorce the form, with the content. And therefore if you’ve got it on your shelf, or if you possess it, you somehow possess the information. Which of course is nonsense, but that is part of the mystery of paper, that it becomes the thing that is inscribed upon it, in some way. And that is how it’s become inserted into our lives and become so important.”
I have to say, I fall into that category. Just owning the book, or seeing it on the table, somehow makes me feel I ‘already have’ the knowledge inside… and it can make for a very powerful status symbol if you are the author of said book. (Although interestingly, I don’t quite get that same feeling from the hundreds of e-books I’ve downloaded, and sitting on my computer. Perhaps it’s becasue I can’t see it as a physical form?)
So, don’t underestimate the traditional publishing methods. By all means test your book with a free digital download, (it makes financial sense) but if it proves to be popular, then get it printed and published! Let your readers own a physical product, that they can display on their book shelf, and secretly think they have imbued your knowledge by the mere ownership of your book 😉
If you need help converting your eBook into a printed version, then get in touch. The Book Refinery has many years experience of printing and publishing books and we take care of all the steps needed to get your book into print. Simply drop me an email with your details, and I will be in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
Mariella’s full interview with Ian can be found here On BBC’s iPlayer.