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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hardback vs. Paperback vs. E-Book

Interested reader Martin Evans sent me this link to a fascinating discussion of the various book formats by Lisa Jardine.  A highly recommended ten minutes of listening . . . and thinking. From the BBC: click and listen.


Chap O'Keefe said...

Thanks for the link. An interesting opinion rather than a discussion, I thought.

A handsome hardback appeared to be the winner in terms of a book a reader might want to keep or display. The ebook had the speaker's vote for convenience and transportability.

Judging by her opening comments, the public libraries would appear to be the part of our reading world that will be in for the biggest shakeup. In turn, this will affect publishers who comfortably, and in some cases almost exclusively, rely on sales through library suppliers rather than the conventional book trade channels.

Joan Druett said...

You're right about the impact on publishers if libraries turn to e-books. I do wonder about the logistics, too. Would you take your e-book reader to the library, be issued with the download, and then take it back for the book to be deleted? There seem to be large loopholes lurking.

You made me wonder, too, if the ancient system of subscription lists would be revived. People would be urged to sign up and pay for a handsome hardback, the idea being that there would be enough subscribers to pay for the whole print run.

Chap O'Keefe said...

I'm not the best person to answer your questions about logistics, Joan, but libraries overseas are already operating ebook loan systems. Try this link to a BBC site for a little more detail:

At present most genre fiction, like my own, is withdrawn around the ten-years-old mark, or whenever the book becomes too worn to warrant repair. This gives publishers an opportunity to supply libraries with fresh titles. Presumably an ebook will experience no wear and tear.