I think it would be cool to do a simultaneous release of a book in different languages with different artists doing the covers and binding and whatnot. Do a limited print release but in various countries, in conjunction with the eBook release. 100 artistically bound books each in Canada, the US, the UK, France, Germany, Argentina, and so on and so forth. And they come with an eBook code, so when you buy these (probably more expensive, let’s be real) print books, you get the eBook, too.
That’s the basic idea. It’s obviously more complicated than it seems. If you want to skip over me babbling about the idea and just comment on the concept, skip down to the comment section.
The easy publication of (immersive) fiction creates the possibility for books to be released worldwide without associated shipping costs and distribution issues. It’s easy to connect with artists around the world through the internet. PayPal and other such systems mean that you can get and give money to wherever from wherever. Sort of.
I love print books. I love the artifact of the book. I’m generally a tactile person; when I shop for clothes, I have to touch them. It’s part of why I’ve never really been an online shopper. If I think a sweater looks nice, I want to be able to touch it.
Because sometimes that’s the only way to tell whether or not it’s going to be itchy.
I like flipping through a book, I like feeling the weight of a book (have you noticed that YA books can be as thick as other books, even having the same page count sometimes, but are way lighter? Do you know why that is? I feel like it’s something to do with the type of paper and the amount of ink per page, but I’m not sure). And in a weird way, I like how battered a book I love looks over time. I like to see it’s poor cracked spine and dog-eared pages, and the notes that I wrote in the margins that I don’t understand because I’m not studying deconstruction anymore and don’t need to remember the difference between “difference” and “différance.”
I like that I have to read A Storm of Swords in chunks because the binding keeps coming unglued and I’ve lost interest in fixing it. And I like that I know that print books aren’t going to become obsolete the way that LaserDisc and Floppy discs did. I’m not going to lose the ability to read them when my system updates, or have to buy a new gadget to let me access them.
Have eyes, can read.
I can also lend them whenever the fuck I want, without having to pay extra for the privilege. And no one can take type in some lines of code and make them disappear.
Sorry. I just have a lot of feelings.
I also really enjoy seeing different editions of books – the different choices that publishers make so that the book will appeal to different cultures. I love the artistry that is possible (but not prevalent) with the print book that isn’t (currently) available across the board with eBooks.
I’d love to see what an artist in Senegal did with the cover of a book compared to what an artist from China or France or Finland did. I’d love to see what kind of idioms a Spanish translator came up with. I’d love to feel French binding. And I’d love for a book to be immediately, internationally available.
Mega-super wishful thinking, right? Right. Massively complicated to organize and fund and gather the funds from, assuming there are funds at all. What’s the sales percentage? How do you manage workflow? Getting a book out on time and on budget is a crazy crapshoot when you can see the person holding up the process five feet away from you eating frozen yoghurt, how will you keep track of people when you’re in different countries? How do rights work in this situation?
No fucking idea. I’m an idea man. I can’t do everything.
Also not a man.