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    In our current life, electronic copies of books are becoming more and more prevalent, making the physical object -the book - redundant. Some would say it's going the way of the dinosaur- going extinct, becoming a mere curio...

    What do you think the value of a book is?
    What is it that sets it apart from a digital replica on a screen?
    With the creation of books -and now digital texts- for the masses, have they lost something they had when they were rarer?

    Do people still even make hand-made books?
    • CommentTimeApr 7th 2012
    Eh, that's like asking did the illuminated manuscript lose value when the printing press was created. Yes, in that no one was buying them. They're still precious art objects and people pay high dollar for them and they're appreciated by those who own them. But ultimately it was limiting as a medium and distribution method. We didn't hit the Enlightenment until after Gutenberg's press and I always wonder why no one makes those connections when weeping for dead tree books.

    I'm a person who appreciates the handmade - I still hand make books for myself and that I hope folks will buy, I still personally buy handmade art books as well as oversized reproductions of art books - but I'm also trying to further develop digital publishing as a medium to produce work inexpensively and with a lot more ease of distribution (I have no idea who is going to pay me what a hand-bound and hand silkscreened book in a low edition is technically worth). I'm also appreciative that my pulpy scifi/fantasy novels are taking up mere bytes in my digital device instead of previous shelf space that could be dedicated towards books that are technically WORTH owning due to quality of prints/paper/novelty 3D glasses or UV torches included.

    I suppose really the way I feel is that there is a place for some books and others are going to be assimilated into the iCloud and this is OK by me so long as someone gets these folks a fucking proofreader FFS.
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2012 edited
    Yeah I agree with @glukkake, there'll still be a market for certain books, for instance I'm thinking of the 'coffee-table' style art books won;t ever go digital only, but I reckon the mainstream fiction (particularly paper-back) market will be increasingly eaten away by digital texts.

    I am not particularly fond of reading-on-screen but I'm going to have to face up to the fact that the market is moving away from people like and that the added portability of the ebook will probably win me over soon enough.

    I am also interested in how ebooks and readers will/can eventually change our reading habits, as William Gibson says he when he writes "I've got Word open on top of Firefox", will we start to read with a browser in the background more often, so we can quickly google and find the background to a certain fact, or further examples of something an author is describing.
    How does (or will) this change of reading habit alter the way writers write?

    As to the value of a book, I'm a big believer in their value being intrinsic, as well as them being a commodity. The market will always dictate the price, but their value is set by the person reading it - I highly prize some of my el-cheapo books that i've bought second-hand (for a few pence in some cases). In the case of novely 3D glasses or UV torches mentione above, I am more than glad that I shelled out for an imported US hardcover copy of The Black Dossier instead of the cheaper trade paperback, and my Absolute Planetary's are without doubt two of the things I wouild grab in a fire.