“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “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.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Farewell Then, Book, I Knew Thee Well …

Yet more noodlings on the future of books, folks, this time from a piece I had published in the Evening Herald yesterday (Thursday), titled – rather cleverly, I thought, albeit not by me – ‘Book Online’. The intro runneth thusly:
You’ve probably never heard of Cayla Kluver, but the 14-year-old American girl made history last month when her debut novel was published by Amazon.com. That’s ‘published’ by Amazon, not ‘sold’. That difference, between Amazon publishing and selling, is just one of the reasons the books industry is going through a revolution akin to Gutenberg inventing the printing press way back in 1439.
  As always, the main reason for the seismic tremors is new technology. Amazon’s Kindle arrived last year to great fanfare, when it was marketed as "an iPod for books", whereby a reader can download books electronically from Amazon and read them on the Kindle ‘e-reader’ (short for ‘electronic reader’), which does its best to imitate the authentic reading experience. The jury is still out as to how user-friendly the Kindle is, and -- given how pricey it is -- whether readers would be happy bringing it onto the beach or lugging it around at the bottom of a bag. But all electronic devices have their early teething problems, and the Kindle -- and its counterpart, the Sony Reader -- is long-range targeting a demographic that is just as comfortable with electronic devices -- mobile phones, iPods, laptops, et al -- as it is with traditional books.
  There’s good and bad news in this for readers and writers alike …
  For the rest, clickety-click here


John McFetridge said...

Do you rmember that great scene from the movie Diner where Daniel Stern is giving his wife (the lovely Ellen Barkin) shit because she played his records and didn't put them away in the proper alphabetical/categorical order?

He goes on and on about he knows the colour of each label, the date of issue, every detail about each record and finally she says, in tears, "I just want to hear the music."

Declan Burke said...

Amen, brother ... Long live the story, no matter how it arrives.

Cheers, Dec

John McFetridge said...

But there are big changes. For one thing, YouTube makes it possible for me to watch that scene right now!


Stuart Neville said...

Google Alerts alerted me to that piece today - very interesting reading.