Bookiness of the Book

Readers are still coming to terms with what they are losing in the move from paper based to electronic reading: 

When I read a physical book, I remember the text and the book—its shape, jacket, heft and typography. When I read an e-book, I remember the text alone. The bookness of the book simply disappears, or rather it never really existed.

Verlyn Klinkenborg, New York Times


Bookstores Going Away?

Our local bookstore won Australian Bookseller of the Year in 2012. It's a fantastic space, well curated, livened by an ongoing series of displays and literary events. It is clear that the proprietors view it as a passion as much as a business. Yet they have been in the news suggesting business is bad and closure possible. If a bookstore that good is in trouble, then pity the rest. Another local bookstore (children's specialist) shut down a couple of weeks ago. As the outlets shrink in number and shelf space, the economics of book distribution stop working. Deep discounting Internet sellers such as Amazon and the Book Depository have a massive advantage. Mike Shatzkin has done a sterling job of discussing this transition and the change in perspective required in the new digital age. Maybe bookstores will survive in some form, but it is difficult to feel very confident about that at the moment. It is depressing to contemplate entire towns bereft of a place where the life of the mind is given its due.

Promote for Your Life


Alison Taafe is an accomplished chef and educator, but also possesses a key additional skill — promotional savvy. When she finishes work on one of her cookbooks, she then devotes just as much energy to making the public aware of it. She makes media appearances, gives demonstrations, interviews and keeps her website up to date and interesting. Aspiring authors would do well to make a study of her methods. Her latest book just sold out its first run.

Crazy Little Heaven


Mark Heyward has made a new life in Indonesia, achieving immersion in a culture that clearly fascinates him. In Crazy Little Heaven , Heyward writes insightfully about his adventures in Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) and eventual marriage to a local. The cover is a composite of a beautiful hornbill and the (sadly threatened) forests of Borneo. To be launched in both Jakarta and Hobart, the author's home town. Published by Transit Lounge.

Google eBooks

Yet another Google service/business has been launched to very little fanfare. Google ebooks offer a huge number of current titles and also older works now out of copyright. Given that Google has scanned a vast swathe of print books already (outraging many publishers) one would think they have a big advantage over other ebook providers. Their ebooks are only available for sale or download in the USA at present, though they promise this will soon expand to other markets. The formats available are PDF and epub. Most older books are available only in PDF format. In a best-case scenario, Google will provide effective competition for Amazon in this market. Google is often good at keeping entry costs low, and may allow publishers to keep more of the sale price of their ebooks.