This is an interesting form over function argument that most of us who have transitioned to e-books have already come to terms with. Here, in true postmodernist fashion, the book has become an objet d’art. 🙂
The major Canadian literary prize, the Giller, was won in 2010 by Johanna Skibsrud’s “The Sentimentalists”. This book was published by a small boutique outfit called Gaspereau Press and was available only in a small edition typical of small presses (they specialize in runs of between 400 and 4,000 copies). The Giller would generally add tens of thousands to sales and a number of larger publishers offered to print a large run. Gaspereau however refused all offers, dismissing Random House et al. as people he wouldn’t want to do business with, and strongly defending tiny quality print runs.
That is one part of an interesting story. The other came in an interview that the publisher at Gaspereau had on CBC Radio where it was noted that Gaspereau has made an e-Book version of “The Sentimentalists” available to anyone online. The publisher dismissed that as merely “the text,” comparing it…
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