Bibliofiles is a biweekly exploration of all things literary.
This past month seemed like the harbinger of the physical book’s long-expected demise.
There are roughly 20,000 books published in Canada every year, and our small publishers’ yearly catalogues sometimes consist of only seven to 10 books.
Amazon’s foray into publishing will not only edge out other publishers, but, with its impending monopoly of all things book, it stands to edge out the diversity of voices in the publishing world.
In related news, Knopf Canada and Doubleday Canada (both imprints of Random House Canada) published Hope is Better Than Fear, a book about Jack Layton and his challenge to Canadians, which is currently only available as an e-book.
Although the website is asking visitors whether they’d like to see the book in print (and, so far, 92 per cent of those who took the poll want to see a print version), this move is one I’m sure we’ll be seeing more often from Canadian publishers.
The most startling part about Hope is Better Than Fear is the time in which it took to publish the e-book: three weeks. Generally, physical books can take anywhere from a year to 18 months to publish.
Amazon.com has already reported e-book sales surpassing those of the printed book, so this past month’s events (along with yet another e-reader – Canadian firm Kobo Inc.’s colour tablet Kobo Vox, which will be available Oct. 28) seem to not only spell the demise of the physical book, but an unavoidable increase in the production of digital books – most likely from very few, large publishers.
Next up: the Greenhorn movement in print – the increasing market for young or new farmers’ memoirs.