Thursday, 2 February 2012

Hatred, Ridicule and Contempt Now In Print: The Publishing Revolution

Here is the link to my Lulu Books print version. I am left in near amazement at how quickly Lulu managed to produce and despatch the initial proof copy after I had finally been given the green light on their website for the compatible upload of my typescript and cover.

Thinking back to a similar media revolution, the triumph of the CD over the vinyl album, this was something of a bloodless coup at the time. The greater expense of the CD brought with it a more reliable and less vulnerable product. The only notable downside was the greater inconvenience in reading lyrics and sleeve notes from the much smaller CD insert. OK, the record collection also found itself neglected, save where the bullet was duly bitten and the favourites upgraded to CD, but the later emergence of DIY CD conversion software - such as the subtly named RIP Vinyl - helped revive them.

Now we are looking at music downloads from the likes of iTunes as a challenge in their own right to the CD. With a virtual cover for the iPod, of course, even if we have to go online to read lyrics. Another drawback to progress.

Which leads me back to the reading revolution. Whereas CDs rendered vinyl albums obsolete despite being a more expensive product, ebooks have the scope to do the same to print books less expensively. Is the traditional comforting feel of a print book ever going to disappear altogether in favour of a Kindle version? I expect it will, but probably over a longer period than it took for the CD to kill off the vinyl album.

It would be interesting to extend this debate into VHS videos versus DVD, or even coins and banknotes versus debit cards. For the moment, let's just recognise that choice remains. Especially so far as books are concerned.

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