Many thanks to contributor Evan Smythe for this post:
Over the past year, the media has reported over-the-top claims for e-book readers sales and the escalating sales of e-books. Clearly, e-books have a place in the book reading world but they will not replace printed books. If people want printed books they will survive anyway but what we don’t want is hype for a product that may not survive the test of time. Did the IBM PC make for a paperless office as once claimed? No. Did television kill the cinema? No. Then there was the craze for CB radios which was the ‘must have’ gadget at the time. So are we now witnessing a similar craze with e-books but on a much greater scale?
Publishing e-books suit publishers for they remove so many business and financial risks from the act of publishing compared to producing a printed book: how many to print, storage and logistic costs, warehousing and distribution are just some of the factors. If publishers and the media have their way, our trade may not have the volume of titles to sell. Quite rightly, traditionalists, bibliophiles, booksellers and book dealers, who value the printed book have expressed concern that the media is doing its best to devalue the printed word. We all know the advantages of a printed book but does the public?
Today, an embryonic idea for promoting the printed book has been launched – CAMBO, the Campaign for Real Books. The brainchild of UK journalist Jeremy Carson who regularly writes in book trade magazines under the pen name of betweenthelines.
His idea is certainly worth a moment or two of your time – read what he is proposing for sooner or later if the printed book is to survive in style some action along these lines will be vital to support the printed word. We need to let publishers know that there are people who still like to read the printed word and for whom the e-reader is less than ideal. You may not agree with all the reasons put forward for CAMBO, but you will surely agree that a focal point to promote the printed book is in all our interests.
Although this is a UK based initiative, it is clear the concept could spread to other countries. So, wake-up North America.