I’ve said in the past that I think the development and broad adoption of e-books is going to be great for bibliophiles; I’m sure many people would disagree with that, but I do have my reasons for saying so.
Now, to be clear, a bibliophile is defined as “a person who collects or has great love of books.” So, we’re not just talking about the stories they contain, but the objects themselves. My dad loves thrillers. He’ll listen to tons of them on audiobook while driving (he drives a lot for work) but he’s not attached to the physical copies themselves. I love books. Having them. Collecting them. Getting rid of them is physically painful for me. (Especially if I end up dropping a box on my foot. Ouch.) I am a bibliophile.
So, why am I so enthusiastic about e-books?
In the face of electronic books dominating the market for genre fiction and, eventually, all forms of fiction, I do predict that the mass market paperback will phase out. Not tomorrow. Not five years from now. But eventually, the reasons for having mass market paperbacks (economy and portability) will be better served by e-readers. For many people, including me, they already do.
But why is it a good time for bibliophiles?
As the mass market paperback is phased out, I think traditional publishers are going to be putting more focus on creating books that offer more than just the stories inside. Paper books will become more creative in their form, offer a more interactive experience, and become something that bibliophiles want to collect, not just tuck into a crowded shelf. I see three types of book that will become more commonplace and more attractive to book lovers in the future.
1. Special Editions. When Cemetery Dance Publications published their 25th anniversary Deluxe Limited Edition of Stephen King’s It, it sold out in less than 30 hours. (I believe the gift edition is still available, though, for you King fans.) It had a hefty price tag. It also had high-quality paper, deluxe bindings and endpapers, color and black and white artwork and a new afterward by King. Fantastic! Collectible. And for the buyers who nabbed a copy, worth every penny. This is the kind of book that you simply can’t experience (and wouldn’t want to) in electronic format. Look for more publishers to be catering to this market to a greater and lesser degree. Continue reading »