Where Romance and History Meet - www.heartsthroughhistory.com/

Friday, May 22, 2009

First You Walk

It seems we are on the verge of a major change in the art of wordsmithing. What exactly do I mean by wordsmithing? To me it stands for getting ideas from one person to another through the use of words.

The human race has been “wordsmithing” for many thousands of years. Long before there was the written word, we felt the need to share part of ourselves with others. Storytellers kept the past alive by speaking and singing tales of our creation, myths, battles, heroes, and the history of the tribe/family. The tradition is carried on today with storytelling and folksong festivals all over the world.

The next big step (other than the creation of the written word itself) was to keep a permanent record so that if the storyteller got killed in battle, the history would not be lost. Over time many civilizations learned to record history on everything from clay, to stone, to wax, to paper (papyrus was an early form of paper), but by far the masters of bureaucracy, a fancy term for making sure it is recorded, was the Roman Empire. The reason we know so much about Rome today is because they had so much “paper” that no matter how many times the city burned to the ground or was looted by invaders, there was always something written down that didn’t get destroyed.

So the human race toddled along writing things down. Being a scribe was hard work, but at least you had job security, one square meal a day, and a place to sleep. 

Until Mr. Gutenberg came along with his marvelous printing press. We all know what that did to the publishing world. Manuscripts could be mass produced and the rich no longer controlled the distribution of reading material. The middle and even lower classes started to learn to read, realized that they were getting the wrong end of the stick, revolutions and uprisings, pilgrims, Australia…well you get the picture. 

So the human race walked along printing books. Being a publisher eventually grew from being a three or four man operation to investing large sums of money in equipment and hundreds of people to run the equipment, find books to print on the equipment, sell the books you’ve printed and keep track of the whole thing. Until someone invented a CRT and a CPU and put them together to make a computer, which someone turned into a PC/Mac which Bill Gates turned into Microsoft, and Steve Jobs turned into Apple. We all know what happened then.  Laptops, cell phones, smart phones, and finally e-readers.

So now it seems the human race is poised to run. Yet it’s almost as if we are afraid to step away from the starting block. Print Book or e-book? That seems to be the question of the day in the publishing industry. Why not both? As an author, I know I am happy to have as many outlets as possible for my creative endeavors. I love writing e-books and I love writing for print. As a reader, I love being able to have 200 books on my i-phone and I love turning the page of a novel when I’m in bed late at night. So I’m encouraging all publishers to do both. It can only help. Especially in times like these.

Let me know if you prefer one over the other and why.  Or stop by and comment on any of the blogs posted this holiday weekend. I will enter you to win one of three gift cards; a $10 Amazon Gift Card, a $10 Wild Rose Press Gift Card or a $15 Limited Edition Widow’s Peak Visa Gift Card. The winner of the Widow’s Peak Gift card will also be entered in my Super Contest to win one of two art prints. Check out the Super Contest at my blog Never Too Late For Love.

Hanna Rhys Barnes is one of those people with an evenly balanced right and left brain.  She has a BA in English, but recently finished her final year as a high school math teacher.  She loves to cook and was a pastry chef in a former life. A member of RWA’s national organization and of several local chapters, she currently lives and works in Portland, OR. Hanna’s Debut Novel, Widow’s Peak, is due to be released September 23, 2009 from The Wild Rose Press. She is currently working on Book 2 in the series, Kissed By A Rose.


Victoria Gray said...

Like you, I enjoy both forms. I love the feel of a print book in my hand, and I don't think I'd ever want to give that up. But the e-book reader format is so convenient and discrete. I have a Sony e-reader that I love. It holds more books than I could read in a year. I believe publishers should offer both formats and print authors should embrace e-book formats as an addition to print.

creatnchris said...

I do not have an e- reader yet, so I have to say that the print version is my favorite. The concept of being able to store two hundred books in an e-reader sounds great though! Maybe someday I will be able to afford one!


lastnerve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lastnerve said...

I love them both. I am a book addict and love them in any form. I am yet to get an ereader but I read them on my computer. When I can't be on my computer, I am reading the print kind.

Sorry, I deleted my other comment because I didn't add my email address


Eliza Knight said...

I like both forms too. I read downloads on my laptop and I like to read paperbacks too. I just bought my husband an e-reader for his birthday, so I'm hoping to steal it every once in awhile :)

I personally think all publishers should offer both, which you are seeing a lot more of these days with the big pubs like Harelquin and Avon. If the big pubs are catching on to what the small pubs knew already, then soon the majority of the public will too. And already you can see its growing by leaps and bounds!

GLENNA said...

I like both ebooks and print books but I prefer the print books. Just something about holding those pages and actually having the written word in my hands. Plus I am an obsessive reader and I very seldom get rid of any of the books I read. I LOVE sitting back and looking at all the book shelves full of books that I have. My hubby keeps threatening to build on a room just for them.

Carol L. said...

Since I don't own an e-reader yet I obviously love my print books. But I do think both formats should be offered. The e-reader is probably very good for those who don't have space to store all their print books. But I also like the fact that so many books can be stored on an e-reader.
Thanls for the post
Carol L.

Carol L. said...

I had to come back and Congratulate Hannah on her debut Widow's Peak. I'll be reading it and the sequel when that's done.
Carol L.

deb said...

I don't have an e-reader but I am sure I would love it but I still would love my old friend the book in any form.

Karen H in NC said...

I prefer the paperback book in my hand over the ebook on my computer. I don't have an eread yet so I can't compare. I don't know that I would ever go out of my way to buy one either. Not sure about that yet. But, I think there is a place for both in the marketplace and all books should be offered in all formats. I don't think ebooks will ever replace the bound book in hand.

BTW, I enjoyed reading the excerpt of 'Widow's Peak'...sounds good!

kkhaas at bellsouth dot net

LuAnn said...

I have lots of ebooks downloaded on my computer and laptop. And I do read them.
However, I prefer -- and always will -- reading a print book. I love wrapping my hands around the pages and I typically do much of my reading right before going to sleep at night.
I suppose it's part of my generation, which didn't grow up with computers and has had to learn their way around them. Of course, I'm quite comfortable with computers now -- I much prefer email to writing long letters or phone calls -- and use mine every day, both for work and pleasure.

Heather Hiestand said...

I got really into my e-reader for a while, but it always took ages to get books loaded to it, so once I bought a laptop I just put my ebooks on that. Still, I prefer the print books except for storage problems. I'd probably buy more ebooks in those situations where I instantly want a book and could just order it online instead of going somewhere to buy it, but all too often the book I want instantly isn't in ebook form yet. Someday hopefully all books will be equally available.

stacey said...

I love the written word I'm glad the printing press came a long to make it easy for all to get books.I wish I could aford to get one but i like all ways that there are to read in the world.but rill books do take a lot of room.

Kammie said...

I read both ebook and print. There are benefits to both. I like to read ebooks when I'm in the car, on vacation or waiting at the dentist office. I mostly read print at home when relaxing or exercising. (kammie2u @ ameritech dot net)

Jessa Slade said...

I love the concept of an e-reader but I haven't seen one yet that meets my needs as well as a regular ol' book. But then I've not yet managed to need a cell phone, so an early adopter I am not.

Anonymous said...

Interesting to see that the majority of commenters agree that there's a place for both--ten years ago, who would have thought? I know ten eyars ago I was quite against the idea of ebooks, mostly because I love the tactile experience of reading a print book so much. Nothing like curling up with a cup of hot tea and flipping the pages of an absorbing book.

I still have a preference for print books, but I'm much more willing to give an e-reader a try than, say, ten years ago. I guess technology is moving ahead with making e-readers more "book-like" physically--who knows what e-readers will look like ten years from now? Maybe they'll have pages your can turn and everything! :-)


robynl said...

I love printed books best b ut do have a Palm Reader. Each is handy in it's own way.

Patricia Barraclough said...

I know the e-readers are hand. My husband would be thrilled to have fewer books around the house. I know the e-readers are handy (I have eight books packed for our 2 1/2 week trip, plus 8 books on CD. I just like the feel of the book, a paper book, in my hand. Plus I collect old books . We will have nothing in the future too look back on. It will be like the lost art and record of diaries and letters. So much is done by email, texting, or online sites.