Dead trees

Claire reads a lot more than me. Claire got a lot more books than me for Christmas. And yet our bed side tables look like this at the moment:

Despite my attachment to “book as object” it’s pretty hard to argue for dead trees when you see that.

Also two of the books I got for Christmas (Perdido Street Station and 1q84) weigh in at about 1,000 pages each. Frankly I find books of this size a bit off putting, to the point that I may not have asked for them if I’d realised they were quite so damn long. And then I saw this tweet from Neal Stephenson (himself author of many 1,000 page plus novels):

No one will ever call my novels bloated again because they won’t have the faintest idea how long they actually are.

When we were doing some work on the future of books for HarperCollins one of the things that really resounded was that novels are 3/4″ thick for a very practical reason; manufacturing. Charlie Stross blogged about this much better than I could, but it’s clear that eBooks are going to revitalise many forms of publishing; short stories, serialisations and epics. Tolkien would have got his way and had Lord Of The Rings published in a single volume if it were published now.