“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Books: The Final Chapter?

Prescient words from our favourite Welsh blogger over at It’s A Crime!, people – Crimefic was actually chatting about Picador’s decision to cut down on its hardbacks in favour of the paperback market, but she could just as easily have been talking about Amazon's new Kindle device, as modelled by Jeff Bezos (right). To wit:
“I’m beginning to think that the changes afoot in the world of publishing will actually consolidate in the near future and it’s time to face the reality. Masses of paperbacks of short useful lives aren’t particularly environmentally friendly. Neither is their distribution mechanism. Those digital readers we booklovers shun with horror just might take off. The book as we’ve known it for so long may indeed become a limited edition and at a high price.”
For the record – not that you care, but now that you’re here we might as well toss in our two cents – we’re in the Luddite* camp on the Kindle issue, being of the opinion that books make for wonderful wallpaper, marvellous insulation, and, given that their basic design hasn’t needed to change for about 400 years, represent the most ideal blend of form and function since the wheel. As for hardbacks – they’re clunky, expensive and elitist. For fiction, anyway. Good riddance.

* In the interests of openness and transparency, it’s only fair that we point out that there are witnesses who can testify that CAP Grand Vizier Declan Burke once opined, aloud, that ‘yon email malarkey is only a passing fad’. So his opinion on any technological development should be taken with a Siberian mine-sized pinch of salt.

2 comments:

eimear said...

I agree that this is unlikely to take off. I mean, I have no interest in buying one of these readers and I've bought a few e-books in my time. Generally for books I could only get by Amazon from the U.S. and ME WANT NOW. But I don't consider them a replacement for the real thing.

Also since it's not as good as a paper book it needs to be cheap enough for an impulse buy e.g. €5 or thereabouts. Format is another issue which I won't even get into.

This guy agrees with you on the whole book / wheel thing - I particularly like his comments on the difference from the iPOD.

Declan Burke said...

Hi Eimear - I can see it taking off alright (apparently Kindle has already sold out of its first run, although there are no details as to how big that run was), but as to whether it can sell past the techie market into the reading market is another matter entirely. One comment I read yesterday was to the effect that Kindle was genius 'because I read two books or more a month'. Erm, a whole two? Gee ... Me? I like stories more than I'm attached to books, but it'll be a long, long time before I abandon books for an electronic version ... Cheers, Dec