Background artiste from 'Better than Stars'

Thursday, 26 January 2012

The Future's Here, and It's Electrik!

Electrikinc, to be precise. And it's sparked off with a bang, drawing attention from the Bookseller and across the Channel  [apologies for the fact that you have to be a subscriber to read the first article and to speak French to understand the second: who said publicity was easy to get? And at least on the second link you can see the cover for Kim Donovan's St Viper's School for Super Villains].

Yes, Electrikinc is a publication venture, but one with a difference. A small group of Bath Spa graduate children's authors, with some impressive editorial skills between them, have got together as a co-operative to publish their own work. It looks to me like a promising alternative to the pitfalls of self-publication; and crucially one which embraces the advantages of new technology. Kim's book will be first to hit the market - I would say shelves, but of course the name is a bit of a giveaway. Electrikinc will focus on e-publishing and print on demand ... which has led me once again to think about electronic vs. paper books.

What do you think?

I try not to make judgements about things where I have no personal experience, and I have yet to read a book on-screen. I'm bombarded by other people's opinions, and the observation I've made is:

People who don't have an e-reader don't like them. People who do, do. But they would, wouldn't they, in both cases? No-one's going to buy one unless they like the idea in the first place.

Maybe that's a clue to the truth: for the time being at least, there are going to be those who prefer one or the other; I've even heard people say they like both, but for different purposes: e.g. paper for books to treasure, and electronic for books to take on holiday.

I can't help noticing Electrikinc will be offering print on demand. Perhaps what we're witnessing is not so much the death of the physical book, more the end of its primacy, and of the long print run.

One thing's for certain: I'm going to have to get that e-reader.

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