Why are you starting an independent publishing company when the art of the press is dying? This is a valid question, probably one that the bankers would have asked me if I were to beg them for a loan. Lucky for me, I used my savings account to start this business (at least the savings account I had before I decided to publish my own book). Iâ€™m afraid I donâ€™t know what I would have said if someone asked me this question two months ago. Today, I’d say, “It’s not dying, it’s just evolving.”
To Kindle or not Kindle? That was once a tough question for me. Part of me is brainwashed to buy local and support independent businesses and artists, therefore innately, I feel the urge to boycott this technology in order to stick it to the corporate man. In other words, instead of paying the $4-8 dollars to have my book zapped to me in thirty seconds, Iâ€™d rather trek to the independent bookstore and pay more than necessary for the printed book in hopes that the author, not some corporate middleman, is getting that savvy dollar. But sometimes I wonder if the other part of me that craves the convenienceâ€”because the truth is having a Kindle makes reading in bed for me possible, not easier, but literally possibleâ€”is such a bad person?
The only way to skirt around the issue was to have someone else buy the Kindle for meâ€”thank you, Santa. Heâ€™s allowed me to explore and play without guilt. And now that Iâ€™ve used my Kindle for a solid month, I can say itâ€™s definitely worth getting. However, I still think buying printed books is necessary sometimes and hereâ€™s why: reading a book and reading a Kindle are two different experiences. Itâ€™s like the difference between reading about Paris and personally experiencing the city. There is no real justice in the description of Paris streets, especially the little food alleys.
When is a good time to Kindle? You could start by downloading Stephanie Myers books.Â Twilight, New Moon, The Eclipseâ€”theyâ€™re like dirty little secrets. Do you really want them on your bookshelf? Not really.Â At least I donâ€™t. I didnâ€™t spend four years at grad school collecting works by Plato, Socrates and Rousseau only to have them over-shadowed by teenage love triangles. I can picture it now, someone walking into my house and checking out my bookshelf, saying to no one in particular, â€śOh, wow. You have the whole Twilight series,â€ť but all the while theyâ€™re thinking, â€śPoor lady. Sheâ€™s not married, thirty and has a cat. Sad.â€ť The truth of the matter is while I did want to read the series to see what they hype is about, I also wanted a way to relate to the teenage kids I teach. I don’t want to collect the books or anything. Thus, downloading them on the Kindle makes sense. It’s purely functional. I get the information I need without any proof it ever existed.
Now here comes a shameless plug, but a book that I wouldnâ€™t want to download is my own, and hereâ€™s why: itâ€™s not just my book, but also a photographerâ€™s, an editorâ€™s, and two graphic designers. There is no doubt the beauty of the artwork put into my book would be lost in the black, white and grayness of the Kindle. My book was made to be seen. Now whether or not you like it, thatâ€™s a different question. But I can assure you that five people have put their heart and soul into this one piece of work without the promise of payment. It’s a chance artists take when participating in a creative project.
There is good news. The birth of digital printing has given independent publishers a chance to print small runs instead of printing thousands of books (which mostly get thrown away). Companies like BP can print hundreds of books at a cost that makes it possible for all parties to get paid, as long as people buy them.Â It doesnâ€™t get any greener than that–both trees and artists have a better chance of survival. So as BP approaches its first book launch, we hope you consider what youâ€™re buying into. Itâ€™s not just a book, itâ€™s an ideal and principle. Itâ€™s the livelihood of your local artists. Itâ€™s something technology will never be able to fulfill. So even though it’s okay to Kindle, as I sometimes do, don’t forget the art of print. There’s something to be said for an art piece that appeals to more than one sense.