It wasn’t until recently that I was forced to reevaluate my stance on the e-book. While researching the negative effects of e-book sales on brick and mortar bookstores, I came across an essay by the science fiction author Charlie Stross. In the essay, “CMAP #5: Why Books are the Length they Are,” Stross lends his support to the e-book, stating that the success of the e-book may lead to a revival of non-novel formats, like novellas and serials, which have been floundering for some time.
With this one simple statement, Stross brought me over to the dark side and showed me the brilliant light I’d been missing there all along. If the e-book can revive dead formats, it can also create new ones. We are now in a position wherein we can drastically redefine what counts as a book. As Stross says in his essay, the processes and costs of printing and binding usually dictate the lengths of books, and we have come to define books according to the very narrow specifications of publishing companies. But the e-book frees books from these constraints, giving writers more room to experiment and making it easier for readers to engage with these experiments.
Daily Targum - Electronic books turn new page in literature