I've been reading a lot lately (and having a few face to face discussions) about whether the digital revolution will mean an end to real books, magazines etc. and it is something I find really interesting. I am a book lover - I love the feel of them, the smell of them, the covers, turning the page....I have a whole library of books (particularly drawing ones) which I couldn't imagine in any other form. However, I also love all the digital options - not only e-readers and tablets but also online publications - my particular favourite is issuu. Issuu allows you to publish as a 'flipping' book so the whole experience is similar to turning the page of a real book but it also has options to embed/ download/ print/ email etc. and more recently to make the publication interactive. I've created a number of publications (some on sidebar) - most recently an issuu publication of the catalogue for my current shows. I also had this printed in the traditional way - so it only took a few clicks to turn the print file into a digital publication - the best of both worlds. My issuu stats show that quite a few people have accessed these publications. (I appreciate these are very low in comparison to many on the site - but even so it's a considerable amount of people who wouldn't otherwise see them). The digital route certainly enables access to a much wider audience.
I think the deciding part for me is whether handling an actual book increases the pleasure of the reading experience. I have a number of very old books (including 'What Katy Did' with an embossed cover and a label in the front, written in beautiful script, documenting it's presentation as a prize to the person who gave it to me) which I couldn't part with. I also have a number of very old paperback classics with standard covers which I could happily exchange for a digital version. I wonder if, in the future, books which are beautiful, tactile or special in some way will survive and as a result the physical act of handling and reading as well as the aesthetics of an actual book will become something treasured. Although we may have fewer 'real' books those we do have will be really precious?.