Friday, February 1, 2013

eBook Revolution

Peeps, I'm headed to another Writer's Conference! 

[Woot, woot! Three cheers!]

Its the San Francisco Writers Conference in--wait for it--San Francisco, CA.

I know, crazy, right? Naming the conference after the city? I thought it was weird too. Heehee.

ANY-way... Whilst stalking the agents I shall be meeting my doom with during the Agent Speed Dating session, I ran across THIS article, that one of the agents posted on her twitter page. To save you the long boring and--might I add--somewhat unnecessary introduction of the article, I will summarize the underlying sentiment: 

Writers, bloggers, readers and the publishing industry are focusing on the wrong part of the "eBook revolution."

Instead of being threatened by the introduction of the eBook, and its implications on the way we CURRENTLY do things, we should instead focus on the limitless possibilities of the FUTURE. What can the eBook do for us? His words:

"The novel has helped foster publishing’s success since it was invented by Cervantes over 400 years ago, and yet readers—more than a decade into the arrival of ebooks—are experiencing stories on a screen in much the same way they do on the page. In fact, Apple recently filed a patent for an “animated graphical user interface,” which is basically digital page-turning. Where we could be innovating, we’re just creating another skeuomorph.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. The screen was supposed to be limitless, a portal to another dimension. A magical mirror in which truly anything could appear: words, pictures, movies, sound. And yet novels have merely traded one container for another, with stories trapped inside. Because of this, the future has so far proved to be an illusion, if not a setback."
The author then introduces his own interactive novel, wherein the reader has the freedom to choose the book order, the contents, narrator and the ability to mix n' match everything like an iTunes playlist. He also included book websites, fake email addresses for the characters, photos, and music. 

The switch to this new, interactive style of storytelling, the author claims, is inevitable. 

"Stories began before the invention of the book: as oral tales, recited poetry, knots in a rope or even just sound and rhythm. And stories will continue to evolve. But we can’t let the fact that these are new iterations of something we hold dear deter us from embracing them."

Honestly? The guy kinda sounded like he had a chip on his shoulder about this. Just sayin'. 

Besides that, though, the dude DID make some solid points. 

Don't get me wrong, die hearts! I am, and will forever be, a traditionalists when it comes to reading. NOTHING is as good as feeling the rough grain of the page beneath my fingers... smelling that ink-and-paper smell waft up with the turn of a page... or hearing the crack of a brand-new-book spine. I love real books.

Always have. Always will. 

But still. 

I was fascinated by this writer's point of view. And I have to admit, I'd never even considered eBooks in this fashion. This new, interactive, weirdly WEIRD way of approaching a book. It kinda reminds me of a high-tech, futuristic pop up book for e-readers. Heehee. 

In a conceptual form, it sounds interesting. And I have a certain amount of fascination that comes with the idea. But then I really think about experiencing a book that way and go: 

Eww. Gross. 

Where is the imagination in this new book universe? The ability to create, shape and develop your own personal world as a reader? Because that's what good books do, right? Give you just enough of a boost to push your imagination into its own interpretation of the world? Books challenge creativity and inspire the mind. If all that imagining is done for you, doesn't it kinda take away part of the thrill and excitement? 

I mean, lets be honest... how many of you were disapointed when you finally saw someone ELSE's onscreen interpretation of Twilight. Or Harry Potter. Or the Hunger Games... [insert any book-made-into-movie]... 

You get my point. 

Then again, maybe I'm just one of those ol' timers in denial about a world that is rapidly changing, with or without me. Maybe this author is right. Does my hesitation to embrace this new kind of reading is really have any merit?

Your thoughts, peeps!! I wanna hear 'em!


Aurora Smith said...

Question for you. Can you email me? thanks :)

T. Drecker said...

So awesome that you get to go to a writer's conference! Be sure to post EVERYTHING about it (okay, maybe not EVERYTHING). Have fun :)
As for ebooks, *sigh* I love paper. I really do. I stare enough at a computer screen, and don't want to add reading to that too. But I'm not against ebooks. I'm actually fascinated by the possibilities... as if a flood door has been opened. See what it brings.

Julie said...

T: Haha! What? No play by play of my conference box lunch?! Lame.

And YES, I SO agree! We spend so much time as writers (and with other jobs) staring at the cursor on the screen that its a relief to read something real and tangible! I have to admit, I haven't even bought an eReader yet (I know... I'm in the dark ages!), but I'm not entirely against seeing where this all goes either. Its an intriguing concept!

But honestly, no matter how awesome the interactive eBook gets, I have to admit that I probably won't ever shed my love of real books completely!

Emily R. King said...

I think this is true! Why are people threatened by e-books? Embrace the change! Channel the goodness! Books are getting into more people's hands, faster, easier, and successfully. Hopefully more people are reading, and those who were always reading are reading more. If making books interactive gets people reading, then I say go for it. :)

Have a great time at your conference!

Julie said...

Emily: I admit... I'm a little concerned how the eBook thing will affect me as a a not-yet-published writer. I guess the ease of ePublishing has created a little bit of a problem for big publishing houses, who are now taking on fewer clients....

[Big gulps!]

Despite that, I think you're right. Interactive reading will most definitely get people reading, who may not have been big readers before. So in a way, its actually expanding our audience as writers! So that's definitely a good way to look at it. It will be very interesting to see where things go in the next few years!