Friday, February 24, 2012

The Forest for the Trees

Mark O’Connell, contributor to The Millions and fellow Borges enthusiast, published an article last August titled “The eReader of Sand,” an article I have only now had the good fortune to read. To summarize for all of my Teal Deers out there: he does not believe it is possible to become attached to an ereader the way one can become attached to print books, and he comes to the conclusion that ebooks will never measure up to the quality of print books. To summarize my reaction: I disagree with about half of his points. Point by point, however, his article makes a great conversation piece for the “book object” arguments. In that vein I would like to break down my rebuttal in the style of a DVD commentary:

To begin with, O’Connell is a self-professed bibliophile with “shelves… all two rows deep, stuffed with a Tetris-like emphasis on space-optimization , and pretty much every horizontal surface holds some or other type of reading material.” First, HA about the Tetris description, and second, I have experienced the same phenomenon myself, so I totally get where he’s coming from.

He has also loved books “almost as much for their physical properties as for their intellectual ones.”

"I like the way a well-made paperback flops open in the hand, the briskly authoritative slap of its pages as it closes. I enjoy the feel of a hardback, its solidity and self-enclosure, its sober weight, the whispering creak of its stretching spine. I like the way they smell, too: the slightly chemical tang of new books and the soft, woody scent of old ones. (If you’re picturing me crouched in a corner of your local bookstore like some sort of mental case, a Library of America edition of [italicize]Pale Fire pressed to my face, you can stop right there: it’s an incidental pleasure, not something I pursue with any kind of monomaniacal intensity)."

My whole point here is the point I have been making all week: the book object has no intrinsic value (assuming it’s not made of gold). What if the only books that existed were Calculus books? I don’t think people would have the affection for this fragrant paper object that they do. Therefore, the object holds extremely little value—it is the book content that means so much. For reading and publishing to survive and thrive, the print technology will give way largely to the digital technology. It was Bill Gates who once said, “Content is king,” and that was never more applicable than in the publishing industry of today.

O’Connell then recaps for us the Jorge Luis Borges story “The Book of Sand” (El libro de arena), which you can read in English in its entirety for free here. He says that the Kindle (or Nook or other ereader) is like a real life “book of sand”; a (for all intents and purposes) neverending collection of literature can be contained inside a single volume. He also, paraphrasing the Borges description, calls the book of sand “monstrous” and “obscene.” The (e)Book of Sand corrupts “the natural, Godly order.” For one thing, I am thinking at this point, “Yes, this is like when they say the title of the movie in the movie,” and for another, I am non-plussed by the dramatic style. O’Connell is quick to point out that he is certainly not “frightened” of the ereader, but he is sad because he knows it “can’t even hope to compete” with the historically enormous invention of the book.

The problem with statements like these is that they are not properly defining what a “book” is. Is a book the content or the paper? Does a book only exist if it is content printed on paper? If the latter, then yes, I guess books are going away. Funny, I could have sworn I just really enjoyed reading The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides on my Kindle, but I guess I must be mistaken—real books are only on paper, after all.

Next, O’Connell concedes to a number of benefits from ereaders, such as size and ability to download something instantly. On the second part, he does delve into the “we don’t know how to wait for things anymore” criticism that places ebooks on the “instant gratification cult” shelf, but he does note it as a convenience. And, to circle back around to the beginning of his article, he does note the convenient simplicity of containing many books on one small device. He ends the article reluctantly conceding that ebooks are the way of the future, saying, “Ultimately, you’re never going to win an argument against convenience, no matter how much you love the anachronistic, heavy, unwieldy, and beautiful thing you want to save.” Ultimately, I agree with his concession that the ebook technology has proved to be a success.

The argument that O’Connell has overcome, but one that is extremely common (and especially on the Internet) is that “ebooks are ruining publishing, and everything else, and I don’t want them.” There are many people who not only do not ever want to read ebooks, but who also hold out hope that the print book technology will eventually win out. Unfortunately for many people, the print publishing model has already been shown to have many flaws. Ebooks will become more common than print books. So why is there still an outcry against them, if we know there is no stopping them? Why the rejection of what has been shown to be a more convenient technology? Why the demand that the publishing industry keep printing books that are losing them millions of dollars?

While the transformation of the publishing industry requires a complex analysis that I hope to break into as my blog progresses, from the “book as object” standpoint of this week, I think it’s the all-too-human, all-too-simple resistance to change. Print books are easy to use, and hey, they served us just fine when we were in school, didn’t they? The rejection of ebooks is part and parcel of the cult of nostalgia that has become very popular of late. In photography there are people who miss lomo cameras and will do everything to avoid using a DSLR. Many music fans still collect vinyl records, attesting to better sound and quality than cassette tapes, CDs, and MP3s (check out that dedication!).

In the end, who is to say what is truly the" better" technology? Does not the survival of the written word, whatever package it comes in, ultimately prevail over all?

I hope you've enjoyed these last couple of entries on the "book" as an object. I will absolutely revisit this in the future, although I plan to begin next week by delving into another of the wide range of topics in publishing.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Accumulating Books

The infatuation that many people share for the book object is deceptively complex. It would seem fair to assume that people who are into book buying must also be voracious readers, but mere accumulation does not mean the object is being used for its intended purpose. Everyone has bought some item at the grocery store in a moment of impulse only to throw it out weeks later, unused and beginning to rot; so do people buy books, thinking at the moment of reading them only to discover them months or years later still stuck in the “to-be-read” pile.

In fact, to be a “bibliophile” technically means to have an affinity for collecting books, and has nothing to do with reading them. There is an English word for people who have a passion for the book object, but not one for people who have a passion for reading. People who work the “look, feel, smell” facets of reading into the overall concept of what a “book” is can thus be said to be bibliophiles. This does not exclude a potential that these same bibliophiles may also be voracious readers, but the two are not mutually inclusive.

Bibliophilia can lead to some problems… Sometimes the object supersedes the content and you become a book collector rather than a book reader. Sometimes no one else seems to understand your spending habits and it can ruin relationships. Sometimes you find yourself tripping over stacks in your home and realize you need to make a change in your book buying habits. I myself moved into a small apartment a year ago and found myself having to give away approximately a quarter of my existing book collection. I had to make decisions on books I loved and would not part with, books I had bought and never read, and books I had read but hadn’t loved but might need someday in the future… you get the picture. Once I had filled a few boxes that were to be taken to the local library, I couldn’t bear to look at them anymore for fear of reconsidering.

Getting rid of a significant portion of the collection, however, drove home for me the importance of the book content over the book object. If all of those books had been on my Kindle, there would have been no heart-wrenching few days of parting with cherished (and expensive) books. There is no way I could ever hope to own a physical copy of every book I will ever read—why not make digital books a significant portion of my reading purchases and be able to contain my vast library in a manageable and attractive way?

There is a certain charm for bibliophiles in a vision of a vast physical library, full of dusty old books stacked floor to ceiling. I, too, have lingered for hours in used bookstores amid the moldering tomes in a state of pure happiness. Jorge Luis Borges, the famous Argentine writer, is frequently quoted on book blogs and in book stores saying, “I have always imagined Heaven to be a kind of library.” But for most people, it seems that reality eventually hits: sometimes you just have too many books. The modern home is rarely just a repository for reading material, after all—sooner or later, every bibliophile comes to the sad prospect of culling their collection for propriety’s sake. If you have reached that sad stage, take heart: here are 5 Strategies for Reducing Book Clutter.

If physical books are something that we know we must eventually give away, why not pre-empt that by “culling your collection” from the start? Why not purchase some books on a digital reader and purchase physical copies only of books that you cherish, have a vested interest in, and know might survive a house move or two? Why can’t the heavenly library be the never-ending Labyrinth that can be held in the palm of your hand?

Is it really worth it to buy only paperbacks, knowing you will likely get rid of them at some point, instead of buying ebooks that you can keep forever?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Revolution Will Be Digitized

Evening bliss-- a mug of tea and the latest Jeffrey Eugenides novel on my Kindle.

Printed books have a dedicated, passionate following that often seems to rival that of digitized books. For the reading public, this passion is derived largely from emotional memories associated with books. As I previewed on Friday with the link to the articulate essay at the New York Review of Books, this week I will be writing from the other side of the aesthetics argument: in praise of ebooks. Forgoing the economic or business arguments in favor of epublishing, it is time to focus on the benefits that the general reader can get out of ebooks.

Considering that ebooks have only risen to popular use in the last decade, I, like everyone else, grew up reading printed books. I enjoyed reading as a hobby and was (and remain) a frequent visitor to the local public library. Memories of my formative years are interspersed with plots from my favorite novels, some of which I read over and over until they became a part of my own past. Having moved away from my hometown and favorite book-reading spots, I look back fondly at those times and places, and I associate that happiness with everything involved in the memories. I remember perusing the library aisles for hours at a time, waiting for just the right book to capture my attention. I think back on the many nights I stayed up far later than I should, turning page after page under a burning-hot reading lamp. And when I visit a used bookstore, or a library, or return to my own bookshelves, it is fun to riffle the yellowed pages of an old paperback, to gaze at a beautiful or funny book cover, and even to smell the mustiness of decaying paper, comforting in its familiarity.

Nevertheless, those memories mean nothing if not for the books—the stories and histories and freely-given knowledge—associated with them.

My battered copy of Malafrena, which I laid out for maximum shame viewing. Note the enormous tear on the back cover, now held together by clear duct tape. Also believe me when I say I bought this book in pretty bad shape as-is because it is long out of print-- I would never treat my books like this.

Libraries can be rather unpleasant, after all, if they’re too crowded or noisy or cold. I often turned down plenty of books that I might have enjoyed because the cover was so horrendous I couldn’t believe the actual book would be any good (witness the impetus for this hilarious website "Good Show, Sir: Only the Worst in Sci-Fi Book Covers"). And that musty, dusty smell and those yellowed pages are actually signs of the damage we have done to these beloved books, now full of bacteria and old water stains. When I pull the sense away from the memory, I strip it down to what I really remember fondly—the book itself.

I didn’t really like my fluorescent-lit college cafeteria all that much, but I find I occasionally dig up pleasant memories of the cafeteria when I think of lingering over The Secret History with a cup of tea after lunch. My copy of Ursula Le Guin’s Malafrena is rather malodorous and hanging on for dear life due to some emergency duct-taping, but I keep it around due to my appreciation of the beautiful story that plays out within its pages. It is the content that makes these places and pages special, not the pulp and glue (and tape) that contain them.

Now that ebooks and ereaders have become so popular, I predict that future generations, including the one growing up now, will have similar sense memories, just of the digital age. They might not think back fondly to the bright bulb of their reading lamp, but instead the warm glow of their ereader screen, perhaps projecting the text of the well-received novel The Hunger Games. They can collect beautiful covers and skins for their ereaders that they carry with them everywhere. Perhaps someday, they will stay up late refreshing their readers over and over again, waiting for their pre-ordered J.K. Rowling book to “magically” appear on their library screen.

The longing for the “feel, touch, and smell” of books is not really about the book content, but about the book object. Not many arguments that “books are going away” have gained much traction thus far in the digital publishing conversation—more and more books are published every year, after all. It is the book object that we will see less and less of, and that is the argument that I see every day in publishing news. So how do we link the appeal of the “book object aesthetics” to the rising popularity of ebooks?

I predict that it will become easier to print on demand. Most best-selling books today are publishing both digitally and in print-format, and perhaps in the future they will be published primarily in digital format with an option to have a copy printed. The technology for print-on-demand is constantly improving, as popular publishing sites such as Lulu and Blurb will show you, and the option has become vastly more cost-effective. In that way, I don’t think that printed books will go away entirely, at least not for the next few generations—if you want a hard copy, you will be able to get one.

On another note, there are plenty of printed books in existence already. As I commented on NYRB, the printed books that you own will remain your own. Your cherished books won’t disappear or be taken from you Fahrenheit 451-style, and as such I think that used bookstores will have a market for some time to come, likely beyond the lifespan of regular bookstores. These books aren’t all going to get sent to the recycling center—you (and I) will have years and years to snap up those funny little 50-cent sci-fi paperbacks that liven up a rainy weekend.

Furthermore, the book-as-cherished-object argument falls flat when you consider the fact that most people do not personally own every book they have ever read. I know I don’t—I have given away far more books than I currently own, for hoarder risk reduction reasons in some cases (yes, I have bordered on bibliomania—it’s a constant struggle) and sometimes because I bought a book, read it, and didn’t like it enough to ever want to read it again. What is the point of requiring all books to be printed if you cannot ever hope to contain all of them? At the same time, I wonder which of those books I might have kept if they had only taken up the space of a scant few kilobytes on my harddrive.

I don’t share a vision of a future where the only books I have are on my (now, admittedly, beloved) Kindle. I see a value in printed books as art objects of a sort; visible dedications to my favorite authors, or souvenirs of memories, or even just as beautiful objects (hardcovers like art prints, and famous editions as prized possessions).

Like my beautiful hardcover of Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution by Caroline Weber. Also fully illustrated with color photographs and with a personalized signature from the author. Deeeeefinitely not giving this one up any time soon.

But as I have loved printed books, so can I love digitized books. To be able to carry a vast library inside my purse, wherever I go, is, to put a literary spin on it, like having a power akin to something out of Harry Potter. When I received my Kindle two years ago, I forgot I was reading text on a screen mere minutes after I began doing so—the technology is sufficiently advanced to have now removed the “glare” of a screen that is the most common complaint for digital text. Now that bookstores are shutting down all around the country, I frequently rely on my Kindle to get the latest books without having to wait for a package or pay a hefty shipping fee. I have even found it easier to read some books on the Kindle than it was to read them in print format—I find myself picking up books like George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series much more easily when they’re on my slim Kindle rather than in a hefty paperback or hardcover tome.

Will I get rid of my beloved old, illustrated copy of Misty of Chincoteague? Not any time soon. But as my personal library grows throughout my life, do I hope I can curate it on my digital readers, that can expand like Mary Poppins’ bag to reveal contents so great it’s difficult to believe they can fit inside something so small and unassuming? Absolutely.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Surviving 451

There are a lot of articles out now lamenting the demise of paperback and printed books. A very vocal sector of those in publishing, as well as general readers, do not want to let go of the aesthetics of printed books, nor the sense-memories associated with them, and as such there are plenty of passionate essays in praise of print.

Finally, there is one in praise of ebook aesthetics. Or rather, the lack thereof. Eloquent and without reproach for print-purists, I highly recommend reading this brief article-- "Ebooks Can't Burn"-- over at the New York Review of Books. I don’t think I’ve seen any other piece that lauds the simplicity of ebooks quite like Tim Parks does here—if any of you readers out there have recommendations for articles in this vein, please comment with links as I would love to read more.

I will be expanding on ebook and print book aesthetics and the unending “preference” battle on Monday. Until then, have a nice weekend!

Jonathan Franzen does not want you to read his books.

At least, not on your ereader, anyway. I think he wants you to read his critically-acclaimed novel Freedom, but only if you buy the hardcover version currently list priced at $28 USD on Amazon. I think that’s what he was trying to say in his talk at the Hay Festival, covered by The Telegraph two weeks ago.

Jonathan Franzen is all about the glue in the binding and the touch of finger oils on paper. In his recent interview, he says that eBooks are detrimental to society because they have been “conned” into existence by “the capitalists.” Paperback books—apparently published by non-capitalist, non-mega publisher Farrar, Straus& Giroux—are better because, “Someone worked really hard to make the language just right, just the way they wanted it. They were so sure of it that they printed it in ink, on paper. A screen always feels like we could delete that, change that, move it around. So for a literature-crazed person like me, it’s just not permanent enough.”

Unless, as a helpful commenter pointed out at The Guardian, you have too many errors in your traditionally published, professionally edited novel that printed an 80,000 first run—then it is entirely necessary to destroy 80,000 books and reprint them. An ebook, which would have necessitated a simple re-download for a corrected version, delivered straight to your Kindle or Nook, just doesn’t have that sense of the language being “just right.”

The Guardian article on Franzen’s comments has curated a rather hilarious lot of commentators who point out a lot of the inconsistencies in his argument, and I recommend checking it out. How does he “take the game card out of his computer” anyway? If you have ever identified the “game card” in your computer, please drop a line in the comments below so I can take it out of mine, too.

This is not the first time Franzen has failed to understand common technology, nor criticize his readership and meal ticket.

Jonathan Franzen also does not want Oprah Winfrey to read his books… Correction, he did not want Oprah Winfrey to read his books, until his first inclusion in Oprah’s Book Club resulted in millions of sales. After that it was okay to appear on her show and have millions of people praise him. But when his National Book Award-winning novel The Corrections was first selected to be in the club, Franzen famously denounced the program and the readers he believed he would get from the inclusion. He waited until after his book had already been featured on Oprah in October 2001, and then afterwards, in an interview with NPR said the following (read the full interview here):

"So much of reading is sustained in this country, I think, by the fact that women read while men are off golfing or watching football on TV or playing with their flight simulator...I continue to believe that, and now, I'm actually at the point with this book that I worry...I had some hope of actually reaching a male audience….”

Which is to say that Jonathan Frazen does not really care if women read his book—men are the true mark of a reading society, and if you don’t have them, then you don’t have much of anything. Millions in the bank, yes. But otherwise it sounds like a typical First World Problem to me.

Of course, he was gracious enough to appear on Oprah when Freedom came around a few years later. Time magazine had already called him the Great American Novelist, and he had received plenty of criticism for his remarks about the female of the species and for his treatment of someone trying to honor his work. Check out some good soundbites from the Oprah interview on Flavorwire.

So if Franzen has an established behavior of saying something inflammatory and later retracting it, what do you think is going to happen over the next several years, as ebooks do, in fact, become the dominant form of publishing?

The icing on the cake of last month’s very strange talk is that Jonathan Franzen claimed he would rather be dead than live in a world where ebooks are the dominant form of publishing. Not to get too dramatic about it or anything.

Do you think statements like these, from a hyper popular author, have any effect on public perception of ebooks?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Internet Can Benefit Publishing

I have been thinking about and commenting on Damien Walter's blog entry "Are books and the Internet about to merge?" over at The Guardian. Walter has presented the possibility of a very near future-- perhaps in the next few years-- where all or nearly all books are not only digitized, but internet-based. I am thinking by "internet" he doesn't just mean Wikipedia-style content generation, but also app-style content that comes completed and packaged for consumption without all the constant editing and monitoring that Wikipedia publishing entails. He presents a definite possibility, as technology increases at an exponential rate, but as I say in my comments, advocates of epublishing can't forego the continued need and desire for print publishing entirely, at least not in the near future of the next few years. The internet tends to open doors to new possibilities rather than closing them to old ones.

Also, Walter briefly touches on the "objectification" of the book, which I discussed a couple of entries ago, and which gets some heated attention in the comment threads-- I definitely recommend checking this article out.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Don't Fear the eBook

Ursula K. Le Guin, who most famously wrote modern classic sci-fi and fantasy novels such as The Dispossessed and A Wizard of Earthsea, is a fairly prolific commentator on literacy and publishing. Last week, she wrote about her disapproval of the Time feature on “5 Famous Authors Who Loathe E-books,” which sparked my interest in compiling a retrospective on some of her extemporaneous writing from the past few years. Le Guin tends to post her op-ed-style pieces contemporaneously with milestones and watersheds in digital publishing, making her essays a unique insight on authors who are adapting and evolving along with the e-publishing process.

In May of 2011, Le Guin wrote a brief opinion piece for Northwest Book Lovers on the prospect of an all-electronic publishing environment. It is an essay meant to caution against forgoing the possibilities of paperback and print-on-demand in future publishing.

Time appropriated several comments from the essay and used them to describe Le Guin as an author who “loathes” e-books for their list that was published online on January 30, 2012. Le Guin wrote a refutation to her inclusion in Time’s list on February 6, published at Book View CafĂ© and on her personal blog.

Time correctly quotes Le Guin’s statement “I read fast, carelessly, superficially on the screen, and don’t enjoy it. I don’t know why” and also correctly acknowledges that in the same essay she stated, “E-publication offers vast availability and accessibility to older texts via our libraries,” but ultimately Time loses the broad context of Le Guin’s original essay.

Le Guin prefaces her predictions and cautions for e-publishing by titling them “my personal reactions.” As an author with specific content that has been digitally formatted, and also as a reader, she has personal preferences for how she would like her content to appear and how she would like to read content in the future, but she is not proposing any industry-wide movement. She is not inciting rebellion against e-books, as the title of Time’s list suggests. In fact, by the end of the essay, she writes, “I welcome e-publication, so long as it works like an immense new-and-used bookstore network including bookstores selling both paper and e-books—and so long as it is fully and freely hooked up with the public libraries,” as well as going on to hope she can publish in future with small publishing houses in both paper and ebook format. Le Guin is advocating for freedom of choice, while Time has included her in a list with the likes of Maurice Sendak, who had one four-letter word for digital publishers.

Le Guin’s blog entry rebuttal points out that the Time list turns her hesitation to embrace an all-digital publishing world into a threat to ebooks in a way that her words were never intended. Her advocacy for dialogue rather than vitriol, whether for or against digital publishing, is both important for the ebook movement as well as consistent with her essays from recent years.

When Amazon first gained widespread attention for its game-changing Kindle introduced in 2007, the Question in publishing went from, “Will ebooks ever work?” to “What is next for ebooks?” Just like when the similar question was posed in the music industry when their own brand of digital publishing began, answers were solicited from the biggest names in technology. Steve Jobs, who in January 2008 was introducing the MacBook Air, was asked by the New York Times about Amazon’s Kindle as a device that might compete with his netbook-style laptops (and future iPad), and responded:

“It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”

Now, years after the comment, it would be unusual to count the Amazon Kindle as a failure. The known sales history alone is enough to show that the device is a commercial success. But Jobs’ message was less about the possibility of Amazon or any ereader company making any money in device sales (a possibility that remains suspect until Amazon releases exact figures for greater financial transparency) and more about a fundamental flaw that would ultimately derail ebooks: eventually, we would cease to ever need them.

Ursula Le Guin’s response to Jobs’ comments, which she wrote for Harper’s Magazine in February of 2008, was an illuminating statement on both the future and the past of reading:

“I think [books are] here to stay. It’s just that not all that many people ever did read them. Why should we think everybody ought to now?”

More than that, Le Guin pointed out several flaws with a statement such as “people don’t read anymore”:

1. Who are the “people” we are talking about? The vast majority of society has historically had little access to, and was often actively prevented from, the opportunity to read until the 19th and 20th centuries. If even a small percentage of underrepresented groups are now allowed and have ready access to reading, is that no longer important?

From Advice to Young Men And (Incidentally) Young Women in the Middle and Higher Ranks of Life, by William Corbett, 1829.

2. What kind of “reading” are we talking about? “Novels” as we know them did not exist until the 18th century, and mass market publications did not exist until the mid-20th century. Prior to those times, the majority of reading available was either religious or rhetorical in nature, and was available only to wealthy, privileged men. Are certain kinds of reading acceptable (perhaps “cannon” literature or “important” writers) while other reading “doesn’t count,” and who makes those decisions?

3. If we are using faulty reasoning to make a statement like “people don’t read anymore,” what kind of problems might we create for the future if we act on that statement? Le Guin makes several statements about the potential for some people to act as gatekeepers to knowledge, and also on their tendency to view book sales the same way that other retail goods are sold, rather than as an incomparable product that has a relatively short history of existence. What would happen if people started scrapping digital publishing ideas based on a faulty statement like “people don’t read anymore”?

The essay is a holistic view (drawing from all three business, political, and emotional perspectives, which I talked about in my last post) on the current state of reading that ultimately asked people to let go of some preconceived notions about publishing. If you have ever wondered if ebooks “even matter,” I think you will find it a thought-provoking entry into the digital publishing discussion. Also, she is just a generally awesome lady and a terrific prose stylist, so if nothing else it is an enjoyable read.

Le Guin titled her most recent blog post "Fear and Loathing,"  which is a tongue-in-cheek way of addressing what has become a sticking point in the transition to digital publishing. People have come to take political stances on digital publishing based out of fear: you are either “for” or “against” ebooks. When you lay it out like that, and as Le Guin does on her blog, it shows how strange the situation is. Many people are afraid that ebooks will not succeed as a medium, and others are afraid that ebooks spell the end of book reading as they know it. As Le Guin points out also, it is time that people stopped reacting to the publishing transition with fear from either “side,” and instead approached the transition with open minds. Fear of ebooks can only cause industry stagnation and exacerbate the problems that already exist in publishing.

On Friday I will feature another popular author who has recently commented on how they would like their own books to be formatted, although this writer took a very different stance from Le Guin…