Monday 4 October 2010

Print v E-stuff

Okay, I'll admit from the start that when I first heard about e-publishing (all those years ago, now, it seems) I was one of those people who shouted a big Nooooooooooo (and probably sank to my knees in the middle of a rain storm, while I was at it).

It all seemed wrong - I love the smell and feel of a new book, indeed the smell and feel of an old book. I get excited when I find an old book, published at the start of the last century in a charity shop; I've bought books before based solely on their age. And it all seemed a little Star Trek-y - I remember an episode of Deep Space Nine where a teenage character wanted to be a writer and, basically, was using an iPad!!

I've never read an e-book, so I still cannot form a balanced and researched argument (although I'm still veering towards Noooooooo), but I did recently subscribe to an e-magazine about writing. And I fear my first doubts were reasonably accurate.

The link fell into my Hotmail account a couple of days ago, and I opened it at my desktop computer. It flipped like a magazine, I zoomed in to read the articles... so far, so good. But then I realised I was flicking past articles I would normally have read, if for example I'd been curled up on the sofa, cup of tea in hand, pages folded back on themselves. I also realised that my very preferred method of reading a magazine - backwards - seemed counter-intuitive with an electronic version.

My desktop computer was not the place to load it up, too officey. So next I used the laptop, which was a little better, I managed to sit on the sofa! But I could only read in small chunks due to a disposition towards vertigo/dizziness. And I still found that I was skipping articles that I would have read with a hard copy version.

I'm not going to name the magazine - it's actually very good, it's not the content I'm commenting (I originally used complaining here, but I'm not really doing that) about, and it would probably welcome some praise and extra readership, so I may well do at a later date. It's merely the format I'm talking about here.

So, in conclusion, my original reactions still hold true, and I think I may start to fear a future where e-publishing becomes the norm.

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