Don’t get me wrong. I myself have done it and will be doing it again, hopefully some time soon in the near future. So this question is only of an academic nature, simply a theoretical exercise. Now that the cryptic introduction/disclaimer is in place, let me get to the matter.
We write /publish books to be read and be appreciated, right? And we ARE read and appreciated on our blogs or online sites. So instead of increasing the base here itself, why are we so interested in getting our writing into print form? I know I have got this all wrong. There is the moolah involved of course, that will make you a rich writer. But suppose we take that away from the equation, what then? Would that tilt it in favor of online writing? Or will being read in print still have the upper hand over being read online? If so, why? How does it matter to you as a writer how you are read, as long as you are read and appreciated?
Let us also assume for the sake of this exercise that people are willing to read you online and that everyone has tablets/kindles/laptops/smart phones, et al. THEN, in such a scenario, will we be happy writing online and stop yearning to see our writing in print? Would we writers begin to be content with being ‘famous’ as just online writers? Or is the romance and lure of the printed book so strong that we will still want print books in our names? If so, why? Is it because we have always seen authors in print? Is it a matter of the charm of the familiar?
Yes I know I left another important factor out. The smell and feel of paper which is an important part of the reading experience for many. But then that is the readers’ side of the equation, not the writers’. We have moved from the orally transmitted words to those carved on stone walls, written on leaves, then cloth, paper and now to electronic medium. Did every stage face the resistance when it tried moving to the next? Is ours also nothing but a form of resistance, a valiant attempt to retain what’s familiar and ward off the unfamiliar?
I know that in spite of the disclaimer I have put up there I am still going to draw some flak, “Oh so now she thinks book publishing is passé, huh?” being one of them. Of course it is nothing of the sort. It is my habit to simply speculate on the most unlikeliest of things. Sigh. The life of someone who thinks things differently from those around her is not easy at all, especially when you see your thoughts being chewed and spat out in a totally distorted and unrecognizable form by brains running on run-of-the-mill technology, missing the point and emphasis by miles altogether. Ahh well, one takes risks and I sure have taken one here today. But then again, at least this is not a comment left on some blog page or other where it can be misinterpreted and cause offence. Thank God for small mercies. 😉