It’s almost mocking the future, holding the past up to its face as if defying the future to really happen.
And that’s exactly what KindleGraph is doing with its attempt to recreate the book-signing experience with e-books.
I can’t express enough just how wrong this is. As an author and a publisher, I love the printed word. I think it’s fantastic. And self-publishing tools like Amazon’s CreateSpace and LuLu.com enable authors to get their books (from digital) into print. As an avid e-book reader (and the primary form of my publishing company Dime Novel Publishing), there are books that I want electronically and books that I want in print. In fact, I am actually willing to purchase a printed book after I have read it and if I really appreciate the material (like all of Cormac McCarthy’s books). That’s because, like discussed in the TechCrunch piece, I really enjoy seeing them on my bookshelf and feeling their weight. They are conversation pieces (especially my first editions) and sometimes more desirable than their electronic counterparts.
Although I feel we are in a transitional period (perhaps much like DVDs that are bridging the physical with the digital in dual-mode business models), the future is upon us. Books are digital. They cost less to produce, they cost less to distribute, they enable more authors to publish, and they are highly portable. Just from my own perspective, I like to read several books at a time and e-books enable that, especially when I am traveling.
But wanting to have book signings for e-books is like opening an e-commerce store that only accepts cash. They are incongruous. The past vs. the future.
I understand the drive to enable this, creating more connection between reader and author, but that too has changed. Social media (Twitter, Facebook, blogs) and the Web have radically changed our concept of “connection,” especially to people we are not directly related (i.e., degrees of separation). These new methods, although some would say impersonal (although that is simply defining the new with the concepts of the old), have given us ample opportunity to engage with an author. And whether electronic or print, authors still have book readings and speaking engagements.
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is let go of the past and go with the future, regardless of how scary the unknown seems. I would be more interested to see how KindleGraph (and others that will follow) try to define a new way to connect readers with authors rather than relying on the conventions of the past.
Originally posted 2011-07-22 10:19:05.