I recently had a discussion with a publishing marketer, and during the course of the conversation, I noted a very disturbing trend in publishing: because of the Kindle, and other related e-book readers, publishers are finding it much harder to make any money on hard copies of books. Now, in many cases this is not a problem. For many books of literature, for instance, I have zero difficulty in reading it on Kindle, and it wouldn’t even put me out that much if in the near future, some books were not printed in hard copy at all (which I’m sure is coming). However, one place where this does not work so well is in theological works. Now, I don’t read theology on my Kindle, because I have to have a pencil when I read theology. The note-taking system on the Kindle is klugy. You can use it, but it takes so much more time than a simple underline in a book. The trend that is the problem, therefore, is that theological books are being bound in cheaper formats, because it is the only way they can compete with the e-book. This is my plea: please do not let hard copies of theological works go the way of the dodo bird. Please encourage the publishers to make hard-bound copies of commentaries. I, for one, will pay the extra to get a cloth-bound, bound-in-signatures version of commentaries. For commentaries especially, which often wind up being highly used in reference libraries, having a well-bound copy is essential to its longevity. They tend to be the most used books in any seminary’s library. Take the Eerdmans Critical Commentary. The first three volumes (Terrien on Psalms, Quinn/Wacker on 1-2 Timothy, and Barth on Philemon) were hardbacks (yes, glued, but still hardback). Now, this massively huge series is only being published in paperback! Von Wahlde’s humongous commentary on the Johannine material (in three large volumes) surely deserves a better binding than glued paperback. Folks, please fork over the money for well-bound books, and let our publishers know that there is still a good market for well-bound books!
A Disturbing Trend in Publishing
May 8, 2012 at 8:53 am (Books (reviews and recommendations))