Thursday, November 19, 2009

The book as object

Having received the finely crafted object that is the limited edition of Finch by Jeff VanderMeer (Underland Press, 2009), pictured here with the accompanying Finch CD from Murder by Death, and the trade paperback, I did pause to consider the physical object. Yes, I buy multiple editions of the same book. It may be a sickness. You decide.

On the subject at hand, the book as object, I can say that I am not ready to make the leap to digital books -- at least exclusively. Having thousands of books on a single sleek techno-object would simplify packing and moving to be sure. Still, I remain a skeptic. I’ve been through decades of software and hardware upgrades in computing, and then there are rights issues and format changes. How useful will those thousands of digital books be in 20 or 30 years? My wager is that a well-made hardback book will still be useful and valued long after today’s digital readers are a footnote in history.

Oh, and I can’t wait to start reading Finch. If you haven’t heard the name already, be sure to try some fiction by Jeff VanderMeer.

On the sidebar list of small press publishers I’ll be adding Underland Press and some others.

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