The digital/online argument in the previous post saw little interaction by readers/bloggers who were not involved in writing. As a result, the post could only go a certain distance in addressing digital publishing issues. The argument is focusing now on whether or not readers would utilise e-reader devices (Sony and Philips), writers with blogs or online publications; or is it an unwelcome change?
"…I’ve read several books recently on a topic I’ve never read on before because of a personal experience that entered my life. A couple of the books really helped me to understand a perspective that was completely alien to me. I then took the opportunity to write those couple of authors and explain to them how their words had affected me. In both cases the authors wrote back and it was a really nice interchange.
The ability, through email, to so easily correspond with an author I found quite remarkable. In its way it added to the reading experience." Beatrice, via Buzzmachine
Eoin Purcell, via email this time, discusses the arguments involved and breaks them into two more manageable sides.
"…it seems to be generating the two default positions.
A) Its all going to pot and the standard is terrible. (Begging the question why they bother to respond at all?)
B) Its great and the opportunities are endless. (True to a degree but as in traditional publishing not everyone is a winner and the gap between winners and losers can be significant)."
Litlove, along with most of the publishing world, argue the case for recreational books to remain the same – or for changes to be as close as possible.
'…I think the internet makes a great resource for on-line books that have specialist agendas…
…other more pleasurable forms of publicataion are involved – fiction, cookery books, biography, poetry, for me the book is very much part of the experience and I would be very sorry to be without it.'
The developing e-readers (Sony and Philips – using technology from Eink and Plastic Logic) emulate the printed page and are ledgible at all angles and light that print is. The devices use little energy for only visual text, while also offering music, web browsing and soon, movies. These e-readers/PDA/Ultra Mobile PC's/Smartphone devices may not resemble the book physically, but the design of the content is dependent on the publisher and could be developed to create a hybrid of interactive/social website and book deisgn.
'…It really would depend on what it looked like in the end. I like to write on my books in the margins (terrible habit, I know) and I don’t suppose that would give the same sort of pleasure. But I could probably adapt. …'
The Philips/Irex Iliad e-reader enables the reader to write on the screen and save the notes as bookmarks/text files. The next step in this evolution would be for those notes to be published on a blog/forum or to be sent direct to the author. Mistakes could be fixed after printing. Additions be made, or changes to a plot. Readers could help revise books, sentences, paragraphs and chapters could all be changed as a result of direct conversation with an author and audience. (Raising grey issues about authorship, perhaps.) Great conversations could evolve as readers/critics read a novel.
Much of this will depend on the success of non-fiction and academia accepting the technology first, and possibly only after raising a new generation of digital readers, will fiction and other genre be open to the large scale change that digital printing allows. Is it simply a waiting game – for this generation die out and the next to be raised on the new technology?
The questions are still the same – Do audiences want to move print online, or to use the internet to compliment what they read in print? Would an audience want be involved more in the writing process of their favourite author, being able to comment and interact with them as the novel/poem/script was written? Would other writers/students like to be able to have that insight to others work?
Any and all comments are welcome and I will add links to list in the writers with blogs post.