Although we work exclusively with ebooks, we at Cenolithic firmly believe in the primacy of content. Format certainly has an effect on how content is received, but a book is a book is a book. Format is, and always will be, secondary.
I was talking to Nelson the other day about one of his many interests, ancient holy books. He’s reading some scholarly analysis on the Book of Enoch. One thing he said struck me, that Enoch was originally a scroll, like so many pre-Christian books. He reminded me that our current concept of “book” is actually based on a new way to organize books introduced during the early Christian era, as leaves of paper bound along one side. This is technically called a “codex.”
Today, Enoch is available in a third form: the ebook. Who knows, there might even be an audiobook version out there somewhere!
Our friends over at Melville House have an intriguing take on the recent decision by the New York Times Book Review to stop listing the prices of bestsellers:
It’s a flag that the format of a given book is of less importance now. List price is an important indicator of how a book is packaged. Now that we are able to rid our books of anything so cumbersome as different types of binding, why bother differentiating between them any longer? All editions of a book are the same, this change seems to say, and if you are fool enough to want to hold one in your hand you can deal with questions of price, but for the rest of us it is no longer relevant.
If this is true, it’s a good development, even if codex purists lament the fact that “real books” made of paper seem to be taking a back seat to their electronic grandchildren.