Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Robert McCrum

What Will Happen To Print Books ?


Hold it in your hand

Feel it and smell it

Turn its pages

Dog its pages, if you dare.

I, personally, feel print books will stay with us forever.

One good sign of this is an article in The Guardian by Robert McCrum called Traditional books, dressed to kill…

It’s about publishers making hardbacks with covers that harken back to an age of marked respect for the printed book.

The standard, mass-market paperback may disappear but trade paperbacks could survive.

And, I certainly hope independent book artists survive—people like Mia Leijonstedt.

I met her on Google Plus and instantly fell in love with what she does with books.

This image is from her personal site:

Her comment on the next image is interesting:

“A dear friend and a truly wonderful human being inspired me with her request for a little book as a pendant… This one is covered in reindeer leather and incorporates a Sichuan Quartz (“Tibetan Herkimer”) with a type of jasper called African Turquoise.”

What do you think will happen to print books as ebooks continue to take the world by storm??
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Are Traditional Publishers Still “Relevant”?


Since I’m a Reader, Writer, and Self-Publisher, I’m always looking for the “other side” in stories circulating in the tornadic flux of the Book World.

Even situations with clear black/white positions have a bit of gray Perhaps some silver or a touch of chartreuse, too :-)

Two weeks ago, I wrote the post, When You’re Too Afraid of The Future To Embrace It . . ., which featured a post from Joe Konrath with a conversation he’d had with Barry Eisler about a document from the publishing conglomerate Hachette – one of the so-called “Big Five” publishers.

Authors Konrath and Eisler, both well-experienced in traditional and self-publishing, seemed to “demolish” the opinions expressed by the Hachette executive.

Yet, Robert McCrum, author and former editor-in-chief of Faber & Faber, has written a post defending Hachette’s position.

In his article, A New Map for The Books World, Robert says, among other things:

“…the [Hachette] document will drive you either into paroxysms of rage, or helpless laughter. Me, I’m somewhere in the middle. The Hachette memorandum is neither sinister nor ludicrous.”

“The Hachette model used to be fully integrated with the literary marketplace. Not any more.”

“Some time between 1990 and 2005….The many book tribes (writers, agents, editors, booksellers) on the lonely route from the moment of putting black on white to the point of sale found that the map they’d relied on for generations no longer described the environment they inhabited.”

“The truth is, no one knows what the future holds.”

“One thing is certain, however: the global audience for the printed word is now exponentially greater than ever before. Whatever the rows breaking out among the book tribes, this is probably a golden age of reading.”

I’d certainly be interested in any comments on this issue of the “relevance” of traditional publishers.

Especially welcome would be comments from folks who’ve read both the Konrath/Eisler and McCrum articles
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Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
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