Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Blog #12 - ebooks

Some of you know this already, but a press has offered to publish my full length ms as an ebook. I find myself in an interesting predicament. While I'm very happy someone wants to publish the book, I'm (well, I'll be honest) disappointed that, if I accepted the offer, the book wouldn't appear in print.

On the one hand, why should this bother me? I publish plenty of poems online and see that as a perfectly viable mode of publication, at least as "good" as print, and, in some ways, better. On the other, for me, having my book appear online only does seem somehow less "legitimate" than if it were to appear in print. At the same time, I think I'd be fine with having a chapbook appear online.

So I guess my questions are as follows: how do others feel about ebooks? Would you publish your full length as an ebook? Are questions of legitimacy as they apply to ebooks somehow different than online journals vs print journals? Any other thoughts?

I think if I had another book done and ready to go, I may well go ahead with the ebook.



Elisa Gabbert said...

I had the same option with the same press (with my collaborative manuscript) and we decided to pass. Kathy and I have published dillions of poems online (or whatever) and have no problem with online publishing in general, but we don't think it's ideal for a book. You can't really read a whole book on your computer...can you? And having to print it out is less than ideal. In the end, we decided that was kind of a last resort, and found a print publisher instead.

Like you, I think it's more feasible for a chapbook -- easier to read online. Plus, you don't have to worry about naysayers thinking your full-length book isn't really a real book for real, because it's "just an e-book." I'd be worried about blowing my wad.

Mathias Svalina said...

It seems to me that the technology of the book is still the best technology for the kind of dedicated reading I want. An echapbook, like EG said, is brief enough to allow for a focused read & even a clean print-out. With a whole manuscript, however, I want someone to carry it around, fold the pages over, write on it, spill baby horse blood all over it.

The fact of people looking down on ebooks is secondary, in my opinion. Obviously, like all of you, i respect the online space for publishing. But it is only one of the techonologies.

Ana Bozicevic-Bowling said...

Hate to echo, but I agree: a full-length book I want to carry around. I need to have a physical relationship with it, the temporary marriage to an object.