Sunday, June 13, 2010

Print or not?

On Friday a package arrived for me in the mail. It was a copy of an anthology I had a little piece in, a writerly grocery list of all things, not even a story. Yet there was something very thrilling about opening up the cover, finding my name in the table of contents and flicking to the page my list was printed on.

Being published is not new to me. This was not my first published work. Yet somehow, it was almost the most thrilling to see. Why? Because most of my other published work has been online. I'm a huge fan of the internet, spend a lot of time here, but I am a writer because I love to read. And what I love to read are books. Real books. I love the sound of the spine cracking the first time you open a book. I love the sharp edges of the pages, softer if it is a book that has been read a few times. I love the dusty smell of old books. I love choosing books by their covers sometimes.

I have been reading a lot about e-books and the myriad new e-book readers that are pouring into the market. While I can see the value in them for some situations (traveling especially), I don't think an e-book reader will ever replace an actual book. Reading is a tactile experience, turning the pages, folding the corner over to mark your place. You don't get the same experience from scrolling down a screen.

I'm sure that e-publishig will open a lot of doors for writers too, but again, as a writer, I like to have something tangible to hold in my hand, something I can point to on a shelf. That's why that little book of grocery lists meant so much to me.

Plus, I somehow doubt an e-book reader would survive being dropped in the bath the same way a book does!

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