thinking about a Laylock font…
He makes a similar comment to Stephen Fry:
The point everyone is missing is that in Technoland, nothing ever replaces anything. E-book readers won’t replace books. The iPhone won’t replace e-book readers. Everything just splinters. They will all thrive, serving their respective audiences.
The Kindle: Good Before, Better Now by David Pogue.
Books are very lonely and unsocial things. Don’t get me wrong, I love books, but you are engaged with an individual author, and it is a marvellous feeling, but the idea that it is somehow a more natural form of communication than a laptop computer is nonsensical. They’re both technology. One just happened to come before the other. The thing to me that’s so releasing about digital technology is that it actually takes one back… The idea that you’re either a computer person or a book person is nonsensical and obscenely insulting to human intelligence, and human variety.
In one way this Press has been in the making since my first foray into the online world, but has only just crystallised (or chrysalised?) due to my recent readings on book design, typography, and the Kelmscott Press, and my current needs as a knitwear designer. I realise that I am setting myself a strange medley by publishing knitting patterns, prose and poetry (and, frankly, anything else that takes my fancy), but I love a challenge. I also feel that this is a particularly interesting time to begin an electronic press. Traditional publishers are suffering from the economic downturn, and the latest developments in e-book readers are making electronic texts more viable, widespread and pleasant. They are even on their way to becoming beautiful. This article in the NY Times* by James Gleick makes many interesting points about the book industry without falling into the usual clichés. ‘It is significant that one says book lover and music lover and art lover but not record lover or CD lover or, conversely, text lover,’ writes Gleick; I don’t see why the latter too should not soon become a common epithet. I have long wondered, as I’m sure have many, many others, why writers don’t make better use of the internet. What would William Blake or William Morris or Leonard and Virginia Woolf do when faced with the technology currently available to so much of the “developed” world? I’m not referring only to the internet. Most people with a PC also own a ‘printer’ (imagine, a letterpress & a craftsman & all the extra necessaries for illustration, typesetting, etc. all standing by you), although most of us don’t know how to use it for much more than printing day-to-day jobs on cheap white paper. I realised this myself when I tried to print one of my knitting patterns on slightly thicker, off-white paper. My printer just munched it up (I think a pun with ‘jam’ might be in order). While it may be too expensive (in time and money) for the reader to print out an electronic work themselves, I think it is an interesting solution that should not be discounted.
After all, self-publishing rarely makes much money, but that is not really the point. Authors choosing to self-publish do so because of other concerns, such as having control over their own works, in both content and presentation. Blake, Morris and the Woolfs were intimately involved in the process of creating their books, and a similar knowledge and intimacy with the electronic work would surely stand authors in better stead. These are some of my thoughts on beginning this press. If there are any others about, I’d love to see them.
* If you are adverse to the idea of registering for online access to the NY Times, you might want to try bugmenot.com.