Read "The presence of print" article by Sonja Drimmer on the if:book blog this morning, if you have been down to Blackwell's to see the EBM and gotten one of the books, many of the what if's she is asking in this article should be asked much more.

Here's the snippet that caught me:


So again, I ask, what has the EBM got that the digital formats haven't? And again the answer is Presence. If people are going to continue to purchase paper books, publishers have got to do for books what the music industry failed to do for CDs. While the CD-stand or -case was almost de rigeur in 1990s interior decor, people soon realized that a tower of transparent plastic was not the personality statement piece they imagined it could be. Yet vinyl records, despite their obsolescence, retain their appeal for many, from nostalgic Baby Boomers to cool-hunting teens. Perhaps it is, after all, the sound quality, but I'm willing to bet that the labor put into sleeves and liner notes is what has guaranteed their enduring appeal. Records are fetishized objects, while CDs are shiny detritus disks. At this moment in time, books seem poised to go either way.

How can the EBM and the publishing industry at large promote the permanence of the paper book? Capitalize on what already makes the book appealing. Its Presence. Looking at my own bookshelves at the moment, my eye is pleased to see three elegantly-designed paperbacks of Murakami's works leaning against one another, while lamenting that the fourth was produced by a publisher with a lesser eye for design and display. My Penguin Classics form a band of black crowned with a single red striation, and my cookbooks' spines flash an array of color that, frankly, makes me hungry.


Read the whole text here

No comments: