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Old 03-17-2016   #11
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Re: Print vs. EBooks

Quote Originally Posted by Robert Adam Gilmour View Post
Justin- don't we need to support some dead authors, even the big ones? So that the best stuff stays in circulation, that it leads on to more printing of lesser known dead authors (even legends who don't sell well), so people doing important translation, editing and additional material can keep doing that stuff?
I was mainly talking about internationally recognized authors or ones in no danger of slipping into obscurity. Most of these authors are long dead, and major corporations are overcharging for their work (much of which is either in the public domain and/or gets regularly pulled out in "best of all time" lists). I personally don't feel any need to drop cash on this kind of writing, most of which you could probably just pick up for free anyway if you went to book deposits and other dropoff points.

I definitely support new translations and new editions of more obscure or lesser-known writers, or those who stature hasn't been solidified yet (this sounds like a retarded way of saying it, but I'm sure people know what I mean). Oftentimes these might not be the most profitable writers, but the people who care about them really, really care about them. I notice there are new editions of R.A. Lafferty out, after him being out of print for a long time.

Also, and this might be a controversial point, but at this point I'm more willing to support the living with money than the dead. Because, you're only alive once and after that who knows? I maintain that Lovecraft and countless others probably died feeling like complete failures. And it does seem a bit grotesque to be dropping money on a deluxe edition of Machen or Kafka or whoever when there are breathing and struggling writers often doing things of at least equal merit around now.
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Old 03-17-2016   #12
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Re: Print vs. EBooks

For a slightly more nuanced version of my reply, here's something I wrote a while back, the answer to the penultimate question here, which is, "What would you say are the biggest dangers of the book in the digital age?"

http://www.schlockmagazine.net/2014/...s-chomu-press/

"As the Director of one of the five greatest museums in our Eastern States has more than once remarked to me, From the Stone Age until now, what a decline!" - Ananda Coomaraswamy
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Old 03-17-2016   #13
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Re: Print vs. EBooks

Free books at book deposits? I've never heard of this.

The bummer with Lafferty is that of the recent reissues, only the ebooks are very affordable. I get and like the idea of making print books more fancy but not when it doubles or further multiplies the price.

I could have swore that in the early 00s that the classics were all 1.50. That was a revelation at the time because I thought maybe even the homeless could afford them now and again.

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Old 03-17-2016   #14
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Re: Print vs. EBooks

As with everything I think it's best to look at it on a case by case basis rather than generalising, but overall I think it's great that some authors who would previously have found it essentially impossible to be published now have more of a chance of disseminating their work.

Personally, I prefer reading physical books because the tactile sensation and sense of physical space is a core part of the ritual of how I experience literature. It's weird and subjective, but so is everything about reading. Issues of space mean that eventually I'll have to go mainly digital. Right now I don't have an ereader, but I have read a few books on the Kindle app on my laptop (which is always plugged in to my big TV) as I found it hard to get hold of print copies of John Metcalfe's fiction and others.

Reading on the laptop isn't ideal, but I do binge Gutenberg a lot, and I read and reread all of Clark Ashton Smith's fantasy stories on the Eldritch Dark site if they weren't included in the Penguin Classics version. The most annoying part is the occasional loudness of my laptop's fan leading to irksome distraction.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
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Old 03-17-2016   #15
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Re: Print vs. EBooks

Quote Originally Posted by qcrisp View Post
For a slightly more nuanced version of my reply, here's something I wrote a while back, the answer to the penultimate question here, which is, "What would you say are the biggest dangers of the book in the digital age?"

http://www.schlockmagazine.net/2014/...s-chomu-press/


. . . that read a bit like Luddite screed against technology in general, save for the middle portion where technology was briefly embraced for the sake of instantly copyrighting works. I don't mean that in an insulting way, just that after reading the piece I left with a feeling of "Here's a guy who isn't a fan of technology, and in fact, seems to suspect it has a malevolent nature."

Had I been the interviewer, I would've posed this additional question:

Addressing your concern about the "danger, if we rely too heavily on digital storage of information, that we will lose it" . . . how would you square these fears against, say, the loss of the Library at Alexandria? In other words, since there are no permanent mediums on which text can be recorded (even stone weathers over time), what makes text recorded on paper superior to digital text?
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Old 03-17-2016   #16
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Re: Print vs. EBooks

Quote Originally Posted by Fenris Technique View Post
Quote Originally Posted by qcrisp View Post
For a slightly more nuanced version of my reply, here's something I wrote a while back, the answer to the penultimate question here, which is, "What would you say are the biggest dangers of the book in the digital age?"

http://www.schlockmagazine.net/2014/...s-chomu-press/


. . . that read a bit like Luddite screed against technology in general, save for the middle portion where technology was briefly embraced for the sake of instantly copyrighting works. I don't mean that in an insulting way, just that after reading the piece I left with a feeling of "Here's a guy who isn't a fan of technology, and in fact, seems to suspect it has a malevolent nature."

Had I been the interviewer, I would've posed this additional question:

Addressing your concern about the "danger, if we rely too heavily on digital storage of information, that we will lose it" . . . how would you square these fears against, say, the loss of the Library at Alexandria? In other words, since there are no permanent mediums on which text can be recorded (even stone weathers over time), what makes text recorded on paper superior to digital text?
There's no format race. Obviously, paper, like everything else, can be destroyed, but it doesn't become obsolete.

You're quite right - of all the people I know, I am perhaps the least likely to be excited by a new development in technology. There's a fundamentally different mindset at work. I don't really understand what people get excited about.

Postscript: I do actually know people who work in data storage, and it seems that this is a big issue (at the moment people are basically winging it in terms of storing things for the long term). There are common sense examples, too. The other day, I lost something I'd been working on for over an hour - on the computer. It just vanished. If I'd been writing that on paper, the paper would not suddenly have vanished into thin air from beneath my pen.

"As the Director of one of the five greatest museums in our Eastern States has more than once remarked to me, From the Stone Age until now, what a decline!" - Ananda Coomaraswamy

Last edited by qcrisp; 03-17-2016 at 12:04 PM.. Reason: Postscript
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Old 03-17-2016   #17
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Re: Print vs. EBooks

Quote Originally Posted by qcrisp View Post
There's no format race. Obviously, paper, like everything else, can be destroyed, but it doesn't become obsolete.

You're quite right - of all the people I know, I am perhaps the least likely to be excited by a new development in technology. There's a fundamentally different mindset at work. I don't really understand what people get excited about.

Postscript: I do actually know people who work in data storage, and it seems that this is a big issue (at the moment people are basically winging it in terms of storing things for the long term). There are common sense examples, too. The other day, I lost something I'd been working on for over an hour - on the computer. It just vanished. If I'd been writing that on paper, the paper would not suddenly have vanished into thin air from beneath my pen.

Well . . . I know back while earning my history degree there was some concern over how digital documentation (emails, contracts, periodicals, etc) would be preserved for the long term. Yet these worries seem to stem from the idea that there's a non-digital, non-industrial, Dark Age lurking in man's future which no electronic devices shall survive. A global non-electronic Dark Age if you will . . . something I find unlikely. The whole planet? Unprecedented since the time of the dinosaurs.

As for the problem of digital formats becoming obsolete, we have several that are widely universal - .txt, .rtf, and .pdf. Most electronic devices that display text can handle all three. These formats have been around for decades. No reason to assume that future technology won't maintain backward compatibility, especially if the bulk of electronic text resides in these formats.

As to the loss of work - that sucks. It is a shortcoming of the digital medium. Perhaps balancing out this shortcoming is the rate at which works can be reproduced. You could crank out millions of eCopies of your book before a printing press could print a dozen, and no trees are lost in the process.

Add to this mix the ease with which digital text can be transferred to paper (and the difficulty of reversing this process) and to me, at least, the advantages of the medium are clear.
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Old 03-17-2016   #18
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Re: Print vs. EBooks

I might be wrong but I think paper seems more durable through all the destruction that could happen. Paper books probably fare better in solar flares, power disasters or if internet becomes more heavily regulated and expensive in some places. Some types of paper do really well under water.

This isn't just about books of course, if some content is only streamed from one source then it's definitely got less chance of surviving than lots of copies of files or physical copies. I better like the chances of all the books scattered around the world.

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Old 03-17-2016   #19
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Re: Print vs. EBooks

This may come as quite a surprise to those who have read my pro-science pro technology comments in the "science says stop complaining thread", but I unabashedly loathe the e-reader for personal use.

Let me be clear though... I hate the feel and experience of reading a piece of literature/fiction using a laptop, computer, or e-book (Kindle, etc). This is purely a subjective attitude about my literature reading experience. I'm perfectly fine using a computer or e-reader to 1)read a journal article on some scientific advancement, 2) peruse some news article about the current primary election race, 3) access TLO community members' opinions on Ligotti, literature, anti-natalism, machines taking over the world, etc, 4) read tweets into a statistical computation environment and running text analytics on those tweets for customer sentiment analysis.

I also absolutely recognize the benefits to many other readers of fiction or non-fiction who don't have space in their homes to keep physical books, regularly commute or travel and wish to carry their libraries with them, etc, and see the e-reader as a godsend.

For me though, when I read fiction, particularly weird fiction, as I immerse myself into the stories, atmosphere, etc, I really want to be able to hold onto a physical manifestation of that book. As James had noted, I too enjoy the tactile sensation of holding a book, smelling the pages, turning the pages, etc. I love perusing my library of books, looking at the beautifully crafted shapes and sizes of the Ex Occidente editions sitting on the shelves, dutifully resting against the prim, proper, and uniform yellowish books produced by Tartarus Press. I like looking upon those beautifully crafted Centipede Press editions (especially the old ones with out DJ's but had black cloth and silver lettering) as though the entire shelf of Centipede books emanated a darkness contained therein with the twinkling of starlight. I adore the Allen K dust jackets that protect my Midnight House editions. This is a physical library I have cultivated over time... and would not have been possible electronically (actually in many cases, many of these books have not seen electronic format).

I primarily enjoy the literature and writing contained in these books, but I also appreciate the craftsmanship and artistry that goes into how the writing is presented to the reader via a physical manifestation. I will stress though that this is purely a personal aesthetic for fiction. I'm perfectly content consuming non-fictional work via electronic means.

I guess what I am saying is that I'm glad folks can take advantage of this technology, but it's not something I will use as I enjoy the ritual of sitting down, relaxing, and reading a yarn by Quentin Crisp, Colin Insole, George Berguno, Ligotti, Borges etc.
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Old 03-17-2016   #20
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Re: Print vs. EBooks

Who knew it only took some paper pressed between cardboard to turn countless anti-natalists, nihilists, and malthusians into dewy-eyed sentimentalists.

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