Tuesday, June 08, 2010
The print publication of NIGHT OF THE CROCODILES, my next book for Barrington Stoke, specialists in short and snappy novels aimed at dyslexic or reluctant readers, but always good reads in their own right – has been moved back and won’t now happen before 2011. However, Barrington Stoke do plan to release NIGHT OF THE CROCODILES in a new format this summer, as an ebook application for the iPod Touch, downloadable from the Apple Store for a cost of £1.19. (at least, this was the price quoted in December 09, anyway, so I imagine it’ll be around that, if not exactly that amount). The plan was to release the ebook version in August, and as far as I know that is still the aim.
This is certainly a technological first for me. It’s an intriguing prospect, for my work to be involved in a new format at this early stage. Is this the future of publication? It looks like it might well be part of it, though it’s hard to see electronic books replacing physical print completely. A book is such a simple invention after all, and works perfectly well. You might argue that ebooks are a better bet from a resources/green perspective (actually, this is an assumption on my part. I could be wrong – but I’m guessing that if all books were ebooks there’d be less paper used up, so less trees cut down, and less lorries, using less fuel, to deliver the books to the shops etc. etc.). In an ebook-only world I fear there would be no need for libraries, which seems a great shame - I’ve always loved libraries, though of course, not everybody feels that way. Another downside of epublishing could be how vulnerable books would then become. One blown fuse could destroy the entire British Library catalogue. Or if, say, I kept all my books on an ebook reader which I then accidentally dropped into the bath (as has occasionally happened to the odd print book of mine, resulting in crinkly pages that all come unglued – but I can’t imagine how that could ever happen to all of them at once – they wouldn’t all fit in the bath, for one thing.) then my entire collection would be lost. Tyrants and despots and zealots would have no need of book burnings in this print-free world. All they would need to do is access your ereader system remotely and press delete. And then send the secret police round to kick in your door and take you away. (Actually, I suspect some tyrants would miss the ceremonial aspect of the book burning. A book deletion just doesn’t have the same ring to it). There are a good many arguments both for and against. And although I see no sign that people are losing their appetite for reading, it does seem as if the pressure for change in the manner and form in which books are both produced and sold is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.
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