The author, illustrator, and publisher of a new illustrated version of The Odyssey explain why not all books can be e-books:

…every now and then, a book comes along that just seems to insist on being physical — something about it simply can’t be transferred to the screen.

“We feel that the book is a nearly perfect technology as it is, and that is why it’s been around for so long,” says Karen Lotz, president and publisher of Candlewick Press…

“We’re all obsessed actually with books, with paper, with paper quality,” Lotz says. “We’ve gone so far on certain of our titles to invent colors that never existed before. … That’s the type of detail that we’re into.”

“It was very much conceived, obviously, as a tactile and physical thing,” (artist Neil) Packer says. “I work pigment on paper — that’s how the thing starts, and that’s probably how they are best represented. For me, I like the tactility of the book and that fact that one can have it as on object of beauty…

“The book was conceived as a whole, words and pictures together — they’re not separable,” says writer Gillian Cross.”The fact that a printed book invites you to close it, and that it has been specially designed so that the shape of it might be unique…the weight of it in your hands — all these things I think have value in that they invite you to reflect on what’s inside the book.”

“People tend to remember the books that they had when they were children as physical objects,” Lotz says. “They remember what the book felt like in their hand, where it sat in their room, they take it under the covers at night, they take it outside to read under a tree. It’s a very precious object, it gets some power over us as we read it, it sort of becomes part of us and we become part of it in a very interesting way.”

– excerpted from Put Down Your E-Reader: This Book Is Better In Print, by Lynn Neary, NPR Books

Illustration from The Odyssey
by Gillian Cross and Neil Packer
[buy | borrow]

Go and wander the virtual stacks at Candlewick Press…maybe even buy a book…

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