In the free offerings of the Wall Street Journal I learned about HarperCollins buying, as the article states, “an equity stake in NewsStand Inc., a closely held Web concern whose businesses include LibreDigital, which digitizes, electronically warehouses and distributes books via the Web.” What HarperCollins, in conjunction with LibreDigital, seems to want to do is offer this technology to other publishers to use for all parts of the book publishing process.
There’s oft been discussion, perhaps mainly around wordphiles, about whether EBooks will become the norm, whether the paperback will crumble into dust from disuse. I’ve always been of the opinion that no one who wants to read a novel will want to sit at a screen for hours to devour it. Part of the wonderful elements of a book is its portability, and I just can’t see someone sitting on the subway with an EBook or bringing one to the beach. Imagine what would happen to the very creative blog Seen Reading, where Julie Wilson sees someone reading a book, guesses where s/he is, looks it up in the bookstore, and then lets her imagination flow, writing about the page and the person reading it. (If you haven’t seen this, check it out. I wish it could be done here in the Islands, but you know, I rarely see anyone with a book, except at the beach.)
At least one person agrees with me. The publisher of Europa Editions, Kent Carroll, says in the article that he doesn’t see a need to digitize books. ” ‘We publish literary novels, and I don’t think people will be reading them on screens,’ he said.”