Looking To The Future

November 29th, 2005 · 3 Comments
by Booksquare

Last week, we were shopping for a book, and noticed that our local Borders had something unusual on the shelves: lots of print versions of books published by electronic publisher Ellora’s Cave. While the fact that print publishers are creating electronic versions of their books isn’t news, it’s interesting that a publisher that started exclusively in the online realm is in the financial position to offer print books. Yeah, the covers are still bad, but these aren’t the kind of books you read for the covers, if you know what we mean.

Yesterday, we banned the Death of Literature. Today we remind one and all that, well, the medium is not the message. The bound-and-printed book is not the story. As technology and how we work with it evolves, so will ways of presenting stories. We’re already seeing creative uses (creative meaning beyond the traditional hypertext book) of technology. See Lance Olsen’s online version of 10:01 by way of example.

[William J.] Mitchell’s books are pub-lished simultaneously in print and online. And that’s his vision for the future of literature: Not one delivery system crowding out another, but a variety of systems sharing space on the literal and virtual shelf.

He’s also a big fan of e-mail and text messaging. “E-mail should not be taken too lightly as literature,” Mitchell muses. “It’s an incredibly vigorous literary form that’s practiced by millions every day.

Well, maybe that goes a bit far…

File Under: The Future of Publishing

3 responses so far ↓

  • Karen Scott // Nov 29, 2005 at 3:45 pm

    On a slightly different note, I was in America recently, and I too noticed the amount of EC books in Borders, however, the author I was looking for wasn’t there, so we went to a Barnes and Noble where I went to up to one of the assistants there, who looked really friendly, and asked if they stocked Elloras Cave books.

    I think I shocked the hell out of her, because she looked about as comfortable as a virgin in a whorehouse, and wasn’t as helpful as she had seemed previously. Perhaps I should have asked for Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses…

    The moral of the story? These book stores may stock EC books, but they sure aren’t comfortable talking about them.

  • Booksquare // Nov 29, 2005 at 10:49 pm

    First, a confession, I carry Satanic Verses around in my car. I’ve never quite made it to the end (but real close), and keep thinking it will be the carwash book. If only I didn’t carry so many other options in my purse. Still, the husband worries about it and keeps hiding it under the driver’s seat. This despite knowing my relationship with braking.

    I was, quite frankly, surprised at the number of EC titles available. Not so much because of the content, but because of the awful production. Yes, I say nobody’s reading them for the covers, but even my open mind has a certain level of expectation for professional cover stuff. I will admit that the EC titles I’ve read haven’t met my literary expectations, but I’m seeing improvement in the writing level from early days.

    Erotica is, to be all cliche, the new black. Or maybe aqua. I cannot keep up on today’s trends. As my dear Jill taught me, it’s hot in middle America. Don’t tell me you were trying to buy EC titles in, gasp, CA?

  • Karen Scott // Nov 30, 2005 at 12:21 pm

    Florida actually, somehow I expected more from from a bookshop assistant working in the Sunshine State.

    I have to agree with you about the covers though, I don’t understand why the EC art department insist on making them so horrid. I’m hoping that changes soon.

    By the way, Erotica is the new Hawaiian Blue if you please.

    And you’re right, I don’t read EC books for the covers.

    I read them for the emotional depth and spirituality that can be found between the pages. Seriously.