Today’s Meanwhile… has an emphasis on publishing. With the rise of the e-reader, champions are emerging on both sides of the debate. Strong arguments are made for print and digital works, and here at Annexe HQ, we think that there’s a place for both. They both have strengths that the other might lack.
So, to have a look at the current playing field, here’s a few people who are pushing publishing, paper or pixel, forward.
The speed at which one can download books to an e-reader is astounding. You could have a new book every few seconds if you wanted. That acceleration undoubtedly translates to the written material too. If you can gather books to you at such a speed, the consumption of the text should speed up too. Taking advantage of that shift, 40K Books publishes short fiction and essays that take about an hour to read, give or take. Now, while this is a great venture, it’s not what got 40K Books into this article.
40K Books are promoting piracy! well, sort of. As digital media becomes more prevalent, the area between sharing and pirating becomes greyer and greyer. Instead of fighting this, 40k are celebrating it and using it to their own advantage. They have started pirating their own books. The first is Cardanica, a steampunk horror, set on a poisonous world. When you arrive at the novelette’s webpage, you are invited to make the ‘good guy’ choice, buy the e-book from amazon for just over £2, or the ‘bad guy’ choice, download it for free. In 40K’s introduction to this piracy project, they imply that without sharing, one can easily fall into obscurity. This is certainly true, especially now in a time when a good few dozen books are emerging every day. under the ‘bad guy’ choice you can take two paths, one lets you directly download the book, and the other gives you the download after you tweet about it. The book is bought for a little exposure. This pay with a tweet idea isn’t a new one, but using it to sell books is unique. 40K Books have touched upon something really clever and hopefully it will propel them further. No doubt it will change how books are bought and sold.
In the Mouth of the Whale
Arthur C. Clarke Award winner, Paul McAuley is soon to release his latest novel In the Mouth of the Whale. To tickle the interest of prospective readers, McAuley has been periodically releasing the first few chapters of the book and so far he has unveiled 8 chapters. This act of generosity is wonderfully selfless. The story is excellently crafted and definitely keeps the reader hooked. The choice here is whether you want to wait each month to read the next instalment for free or buy the whole book as a print copy and read it at your leisure.
You Can Judge a Book by its Cover
This is a brilliant article from The Independent about the strength of a well crafted book cover and how book jacket design is one of the virtues that makes real hard copy books a thing that will never die. Long live the beautiful object!