In defense of e-books.

We’ve been asked lately if we have any plans to publish in traditional printed book form. The answer, at present, is no. Not that we have anything against physical books. We love books! We love the feel and the old-timey smell of them. But we’re just a humble startup, with a simple mission of reintroducing rare, unusual, and out-of-print works to readers who might never know of their existence otherwise. We’re also eager to discover and publish new writers with distinctive voices and wild visions. The digital format allows us to do that, to publish what we want to publish, the way we want to publish it, with a focus on bringing the beauty of the printed word to this relatively new and evolving format.

So, that said, here’s a list of our most compelling reasons for embracing e-books (with no pressure on you to start dismantling those sagging bookshelves):

1. Portability. Travel frequently? Spend a lot of time in line at the post office? Wouldn’t it be something to have an entire library in your pocket or handbag, with new books just a wi-fi or cellular connection away? E-books weigh nothing, and don’t take up any valuable real estate in your luggage, so load up that e-reader before you hit the road.

2. Built-in dictionary. We can forgive you for not knowing what animal spraints issue from, or how easily one might conceal a poniard about one’s person. We can even forgive you for not pulling down that heavy old American Heritage dictionary in order to enlighten yourself, but can you? How much simpler to tap the confounding word and have it define itself as if by magic. Yes, we live in such a world!

3. Searchable text. If you’re like us, you get bogged down occasionally by all of those character names and exotic locations. Type in a search and voila! See instantly where a word or phrase first appeared and go there.

4. Annotate. Who wants to scrawl notes in the margins of a favorite book? Do it digitally, highlighting favorite passages and adding searchable notes, with the option to edit or remove them later. Great for doing research.

5. Versatility. Change font size and type, and adjust screen brightness to reduce eye strain.

6. Read anywhere. Kindle has free mobile and desktop apps for accessing your purchased books, and this fall Apple will include a desktop version of iBooks with its new Mavericks operating system. Bookmark a page on one device and pick up where you left off on another.

7. Browse virtually. Curious about a book? Download a sample and read the first few chapters at your leisure before committing to a purchase. Then either delete it or tap a button to buy. Yours in seconds!

8. Hey, man, it’s eco-friendly. No gas-sucking trucks or planes shipped that e-book to you. And no matter how many  copies of Pinocchio’s Forgotten Land we sell, we won’t have the sap of a single tree on our hands. That’s a good feeling, one our little wooden friend would approve of.

9. Abuse-resistant. Your e-book’s pages won’t tear or fall out or discolor with age. That burrito that just fell apart in your hand won’t stain it. Drop your iPhone in the toilet (again!) and you can simply repopulate your iBookshelf on a new device from the cloud.

10. Saves time and potential injury. The digital bookshelf gathers no dust. And no paper cuts!


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