‘Celt in the Machine’ launch event in Clayton, UK, by Philip Emery (author)

“Clayton Library will demonstrate how libraries are moving with the times by hosting the launch of a local writer’s new e-book. Philip Emery, at one time a lecturer in creative writing at Keele University, whose work has been published worldwide, will read extracts from ‘The Celt in the Machine’, a collection of fiction and verse spanning over thirty years. But unlike the launch of his previous Immanion Press book, ‘The Shadow Cycles’, there will be no paper volumes in evidence on the night. Instead the audience will be invited to make use of the library’s open access PCs to browse and possibly purchase the collection ‘online’ from internet retailers such as Amazon. Though the prospect may be daunting, there will be expert help on hand, such as Roy Gray, a writer and e-book compiler for a magazine chain.”
The coming of the e-book has had many effects on publishing, some good, some not so. Some of those effects are still hovering between the two. One thing that hovers is the obvious effect on the traditional old book launch.
No book.
No table impressively stacked with bound paper.
The spectacle of the writer standing or sitting and leafing through their new work of art is replaced by the writer standing or sitting with an electronic doohicky (otherwise known as an e-reader, but I think ‘doohicky’ has more character).
Or in my case standing or sitting in front of the audience with a sheaf of unbound paper, because, dear reader (or e-reader reader?), this writer doesn’t own a doohicky.
And so the writer pictured here tries to put to the back of his mind the irony or even hypocrisy of the situation and get on with reading from his brand spanking new (but incorporeal) publication.
Oh well, at least there was no depressing pile of unsold bound paper to transport home afterward…
As the evening progressed it was, however, clear that a number of the members of the audience also preferred solid physical books, but were curious to learn what an e-book was – this was because a number of them were also writers and were eager to learn about this brave new publishing frontier. Anticipating this, I’d recruited by good friend Roy Gray, whose knowledge on the subject, as on many others, far exceeds my own. In fact Roy’s brief rundown on the subject was so well received that the library have invited him back in the Autumn to give a fuller presentation.
Perhaps I should go…

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