Tuesday 28 February 2012

Anthony Horowitz on Why We Need Publishers

Interestingly what Anthony Horowitz says in the piece from the Guardian seems to be a continuation of Ian Rankin's speech at the Orion 20th Birthday party. He said that authors "really need publishers", especially "as more content floods the market, of varying quality".
Horowitz' piece opens with - "The title of this talk is, "Do We Need Publishers Any More?". I was going to call it "Thank Christ We Don't Need Bloody Publishers Any More" – but I felt that sounded too partisan. Relationships between writers and publishers are of course very strange and change all the time, rather like a see-saw."
Read the full article here
Roger Jon Ellory who shares Rankin's publisher, commented on the piece....
"E-books, wonderful though they are, will take the place of paperbacks the same way that photography took the place of painting, the same way that recorded music utterly supplanted live performances.  Basically, they won't.  There are certain aspects to e-books that are great, and some that are not.  When you travel a great deal, you are very much aware of the frustration occasioned by passengers who have to 'turn off all electronic devices' a good three-quarters of an hour before landing.  You can't share an e-book the way you can a paperback.  You don't have the wonderfully familiar tactile quality that comes from a paperback.  You can't give your e-books to hospitals, charity stores, libraries.  You can't get an e-book signed.  Giving an e-book as a gift to someone just isn't the same.  It's like sending someone an e-card at Christmas.  You tell them you're being ecologically responsible.  In truth the recipient knows that you forgot to buy one and post it.  Books feel good.  They smell good.  You can use them to interior design a room.  A bookcase says a great deal about a person.  When I met my wife and went to her flat for the first time, what did I do?  I looked at her bookcase (not a euphemism!).  She had Hesse, Kafka, Orwell, Tolkien, Stephen Donaldson, and the complete works of Charles Schulz.  That's the girl for me, no doubt about it.  Everyone is concerned about e-books taking over.  Taking over from what?  E-books are still books.  Someone who reads is going to read, regardless of format.  Someone who doesn't read isn't going to start reading just because you've given them a gadget.  Apparently over a million e-readers were given as gifts this past Xmas.  It has also been reported that in excess of thirty percent of those e-readers have not yet been switched on.  Seems to me that if we spent as much time as we do talking about e-books actually addressing the fact that the education system in this country (and worldwide) has gone to Hell in a handbasket, we might solve the problem of whether or not the publishing industry is going down the pan by fixing the fact that we have just graduated the third or fourth generation of teenagers who 'don't read'.  That seems to be the issue for me - how do we get people reading again, not what format they are going to read in."

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