Maybe it’s because I just finished my first stab at electronic publishing, but I went into my Sunday panel at ConText 23 (Aug. 29) with the idea it would be a sort of DIY subject. Well, it wasn’t. It turned out to be more about the electronic readers themselves and a discussion on the future of e-publishing. Interesting, and definitely a fitting subject for a science fiction-heavy convention, but I had to do a massive gear shift once the talk began.
It’s been over a week now, but I’m still thinking about this discussion. Seems like everyone else is, too. Every place I go, people are talking about what e-reader they want and what e-books they’ve downloaded. It’s been kind of amazing, really. It used to be that only my most avowedly geeky friends (Yes, Grant and Joe, I mean YOU. lol) were reading actual books on the computer screen. Now, even the people who used to tell me they always printed out a manuscript hard copy for edits because they couldn’t stand reading off the screen are reading e-books.
Fad of the Moment or the shape of things to come? Probably a bit of both. Will the e-book be the doom of paper books? I seriously doubt it. I can’t see e-books sending paper books the way of the Sauropods any time soon, really. I’m probably speaking from a position of prejudice because I love books. My house is filled with books of all sorts and all ages. There’s just something wonderful about the feel of a book — especially a hardback book. Don’t get me wrong, I’m also a dyed-in-the-circuits geek, so I also appreciate the electronic form and the portability of the new readers. I get most of my news electronically, even my archaeological updates. How’s that for anachronistic?
Still, I think there will be room for both for a long time to come. The book didn’t supplant the scroll immediately, after all. Hey! This is a great excuse to link to one of my favorite tech support spoofs! Medieval Tech Support. BWAHAHAHAHAHAAA!