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'The paper book will never die'

14 November 2011

'Books have always been defined by their physical presence. Those under 50,000 words do not give customers value for money, books much over 200,000 words are cumbersome to read and prohibitively expensive to produce. EbooksDigital bookstore selling wide range of ebooks in 50 categories from Hildegard of Bingen to How to Write a Dirty Story and showing how the range of ebooks available is growing. make those rules redundant.

Short stories, poetry and essays have moved almost entirely into the lists of small, subsidised, under-funded presses. They have largely died as far as the big publishers are concerned. Ebooks throw them a lifeline: as it is no longer necessary to publish in single-volume form, the book's new found elasticity can allow for the subscription model (the basis for much 19th century publishing) to be reborn.

Publishing need no longer be tied into its protracted publishing schedules, there is now the opportunity to think far more nimbly.

Ebooks may have cannibalised hardback sales, but everyone recognises that the paper book will never die, because handy and convenient though an ebook is, it lacks the "bragability" and attractiveness of a well-stocked book-case.'

Piers Blofeld, agent at Sheil Land, in the Bookseller