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With apologies to The Beatles, I have noticed a trend lately among (I am presuming to be) fairly educated and sophisticated people on the ra...

05 March 2012

More on the Value of Printed Bound (Edited Before Published) Books

SmartMoney online article today tells again of the hazards of mixing books with technology.  There was a similar article somewhere a long time ago that talked about not having to redecorate with a new bookshelf (although you might want to do so) each time you moved and took your printed bound books with you.  The analogy is effective.  The concept of "the cloud" continues to be a difficult one for most people.  Books, music, videos, anything... if people pay money for something, they believe they own it.  But, web retailers want readers to view their purchases not as physical things they now own, but access, time in a bottle.  Like going to the movies or a concert or a lecture, just because you paid money to read that ebook doesn't mean you own it, even if you've downloaded it.  In fact, it's better than going to a poetry reading, because you can open that ebook over and over again without additional charge (as long as you have the right device).

And, while many extol the "democracy" of the internet, allowing all writers to get equal exposure to readers and allowing readers, not stodgy or stuck-up editors in New York City, to decide what constitutes a good book and thus, could be published, many others admit that a gatekeeper is useful sometimes.  There are a lot of poorly written self-published bodies of words out there.  In the printed bound book part of the self-publishing world, at least cost of the enterprise has all but the very passionate or rich writers thinking twice before "publishing."  On the internet, publishing is not only easy, it is very cheap.

Publishers as gatekeepers is part of the real and perceived value that readers and buyers of e-books need to see and understand. 

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