The Joy of Paper

Today is an exciting day for me – the paperback edition of my latest novel “The Replacement” and a new paperback edition for my first one “The Wishing Game” are finally published.  Both have been available as e-books for some time but at last they are hitting the stores in paper form and I couldn’t be more thrilled.


It’s amazing how much the publishing world has changed since I had my first book published in 1999.  Back then, in the days when we all used dial-up internet and thought DVDs were cool – well I did anyway but then again I don’t get out much – paper really was the only option.  E-books only existed in the imagination of the technologically visionary and had the possibility been mentioned to the average layman it probably would have prompted a response along the lines of “those will never take off”.

Now, of course, it’s a very different story with about 50% of all book sales being in electronic form.  Friends of mine who were initially sceptical of the concept now all own e-readers and rave about their usefulness.  Gone are the days when the avid reader had to lug a bag full of paperbacks through airport security en route to a week in the sun.  Books no longer need to clutter shelves at home – freeing them up for DVDs though as I am reliably informed by more up to date friends “Oh, Patrick, no one watches those anymore!  For God’s sake get on Netflix!”


There are other advantages too.  As e-books are so much cheaper to produce it allows publishers to charge a lower price to consumers while paying higher royalties to authors.  They have also transformed the landscape of self publishing too.  Back in 1999 self publishing meant paying a company to print a few copies to distribute to family and friends.  Now, courtesy of the digital revolution, aspiring authors can publish their work electronically, have it displayed in the great internet shop window and, in some cases, achieve considerable success.  So, all in all, I do think e-publishing is a very good thing.

And yet…

There is something very special about being able to hold your book in your hand.   There’s an almost childlike sense of wonder as you look at it and think “I made this.”  It allows you to proudly display it on your bookshelves.  And best of all, it allows you to give a copy to a friend or loved one as a present, inscribed with a personal message, rather than just pointing them to the relevant page on Amazon and saying “click there!”


And that is why, though a fan of e-books, I will remain an advocate of the printed page until the day I die.

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