My next book, Catch You Later, Traitor is well into production. To be published in the winter of 2015, my computer generated text is gradually being transformed into a book, a book that will be published with x number of copies—I have no idea how many, much less how it will be received. Nonetheless, as this evolution happens, the book gradually becomes an object.
It is, I think, important to realize that the content of a book—that which an author has written (with the major support of editor, copyeditor, and proofreaders)—is only a part of what makes a book a book. Granted that the text is the key part of a book, there is also the design of the pages, the art of the cover, the design of the cover, the layout of the book, the kind of paper on which the book is printed, the binding of the book, the way the pages are put together, the choice of font for the text, and so forth, all physical attributes that make a book a book.
In this day and age of digital texts, I think we sometimes forget that a book is—or should be—in itself a work of art. The way a book feels in your hands, holds the eye, can be and should be in itself an aesthetic experience. A well-crafted book adds immeasurably to the pleasures of reading. We introduce young people to books with picture books, whose very premise is they are a delight to the eye. We revere The Book of Kells not merely for its sacred text, but for its infinite beauty.
Obviously, few printed books reach such a level as illuminated manuscripts, or even the best of picture books. I suspect, however, if print publishers wish to compete with digital books they cannot do so with content alone, but with books that are truly wonderful to hold and to see.
4 thoughts on “Holding beauty”
Yes. Lurvely. xx
I hope publishers read this. What you have written is true and important to the love of reading. I think the physical experience of the book is critical, not superfluous, to a reading culture.
I agree. I love the smell of a book, the actual holding a book in my hands and turning the pages. I have a Nook,which I enjoy (I need the backlight and larger text now
I read a book once titled The Falconer’s Knot. It was a mystery that took place in a Franciscan friary where the friars hand painted and lettered all the books they were copying. I loved all the detail described in making these old, beautiful books. In our house, we have a few Kindles, but nothing beats all those good-smelling books overtaking our home. Plus, a book just feels better in my hands than a Kindle.