Book Links 8-6-2012

a little late, but that’s better than never.  Been a long day, wrestling with a television and an uncooperative wall mount. With the help of some strategically deformed hockey cards, it is close to level. Anyway, on to the links!

First is this brief interview of Chip Kidd on NPR. He designs book covers for Knopf. You’ve seen his work. And he seems to have become a fiercely captivating defender of books as actual, physical objects. The one thing that stuck out, and it’s at the end of the article (an audio version is available at the top) is that hardcover books are really “luxury” items. I don’t disagree, but this is also where I see a problem with the trade paperbacks (TPB) that have become so popular, nearly entirely displacing the smaller, cheaper mass market paperback (MMPB). What it really boils down to, for me, is that TPBs are just too damn expensive for paperback books and have helped drive people away from actual physical books and into the arms of ereaders everywhere. Then again, it may have been a price move the publishing houses needed to make and could only justify it with the snazzier format. I don’t know. I just miss my cheap MMPBs. And, for anyone interested, here is Chip Kidd’s TedTalk.

PW has a short piece about how ebooks are also killing the backlists of publishers. When you walked into Borders and saw not just Grisham’s newest novel but the five million and seventy-four thousand others he had written, those were backlists. With far fewer book stores, sales for the backlists have been pushed into the cyberworld. And sales have went down. Shocking. It’s hard to sell a book when you can’t see it, especially amidst the mountain of product that is Amazon.

and here’s the only known video of Mark Twain.
Oh, and another piece at PW about the Department of Justice asking the court to ratify their plea agreement with three publishers in the government’s quest to hand the publishing industry over to Amazon. I’ve posted my distaste for Amazon more than once here, you can find it if you’re interested.  Cheaper doesn’t always (in fact, almost never) equals better.  While I miss cheap paperbacks, I understand it’s not my god given right to them. And that, eventually, you get what you pay for. So, if being able to pay $10 instead of $15 for a new book by your favorite author is worth this much to you, remember, eventually we all sow what we reap.  Sowing the end of a publishing industry that we know may not reap the glorious rewards some companies are promising.

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