Friday 1st April 2011
This week we look briefly at the uncertain future of today's paperback and how both paper and electronic can continue side by side in harmony.
The past two weeks we have looked at the positives and negatives of the paperback and it's relatively new, up and coming rival, the e-book.
As with everything, technological advances race towards us with alarming speed. The average personal computer adorning most family homes, now have far more capabilities than the mother boards and micro chips which had once propelled man into the heavens during the 1960's race into space.
We doubt very much the prehistoric hunter gatherers, who sat etching sketches onto the cave walls would have envisaged advances in art and technique, would see later paintings, impossible to value, hang on the sacred walls of the Louvre and other such establishments around the world.
Neither could the holy man, carefully carving his scriptures onto tablets of stone could never have imagined his words of wisdom could be carried, and read on the portable device now known as paper.
They say change is a good thing. As traditionalists ourselves, we do not always take this on board, holding firmly onto our comfort zones until, finally, the weight is too great to bear, and we finally have to let go.
Hazy days of our own summers long since gone are now merely a figment of earliest memory. Bygone days of a weekly school visit to the local library, proudly bearing our favourite paperbacks to read as homework, have sadly gone. Children of today have been born into a world of gadgetry and fast pace, leaving the dinosaurs of yesterday to dwell on our pasts. We wander now just what the free, community libraries will be like in the days of tomorrow. Will our own children and grandchildren again look in awe at the neatly laid out shelves of knowledge? Its more likely the physical buildings will have disapeared, to be replaced by the click of the mouse and membership password entered.
Whether you agree or not, sadly we have to admit, the day of the paperback is slowly drawing to a close. With the passing of each year, the paperback lovers numbers decrease and, eventually there will be no-one left to remember.
Thankfully, on a lighter note, the paperback still has a place within the world of literature. For most new writers, the dream is not yet lined with gold. Seeing our prized works in material form continue to outweigh the hope and expectations of a low cost, high profit sale on the rapidly growing e-reading devices available today.
After spending months, if not years perfecting the story we have to tell, there is no greater feeling of satisfaction than holding the very first copy within our grasp. Like the child with a new toy we constantly put it down, only to pick it up again moments later, revelling in inner feelings of personal success.
Sadly, until technology advances, present forms of e-books can never give us this feeling of fulfilment. So, what happens next? Paperbacks are still selling, although, over recent years, their numbers have slowly dwindled, replaced already by their electronic and, lower priced rivals.
Thankfully however the audience is still present for the author to pursue the dream of adorning the cluttered contents of bookshelves across the world.
Until the final death knoll arrives, as writers, we should embrace both sides of the coin and acknowledge the winds of change can never be held back indefinitely.
As writers we must take on both sides of the argument and use this to our advantage. If you feel, like us you need to take on the actual presence of your hard work then do chase the paperback option. It would however, be a dreadful shame, for traditions sake, to pass bye and ignore the opportunity e-publishing offers.
Next Week - Rejoicing the Age Old Days of the Paperback
About Andy Evans & Vesna Kovac
Andy Evans was born in the gritty coal mining communities of Yorkshire, England. After leaving school at the age of sixteen he followed the generations of school leavers before him to work in the local coal mines. Following the demise of the UK’s mining industry in the mid 1990’s he now works within the Criminal Justice System.
Vesna Kovac was born and raised in the Bosnian Town of Novi Travnik. After leaving school she graduated as an engineer after studying for five years at the military academy in Zagreb. Vesna left the former Yugoslavia following the ceasefire of civil war in the mid 1990's.
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