The Human Division Hardcover in the House

Zeus is obviously not impressed. Hey, cat, you’d be impressed if you knew this was paying for your kibble. Not to mention that chair you’re so comfortably napping on. Respect the novel, damn you cat.

Unimpressed cats aside, I have to tell you that I hope we never do go to pure digital output as far as books are concerned, because there really nothing like having a finished, printed, physical copy of your novel in your hands. It’s what makes it really really real. I never get tired of it. I hope I never will.

 

33 thoughts on “The Human Division Hardcover in the House

  1. I was a little slow on feeding the cat this morining (Hey, it was 5:50 am after all) and The Cat bit me on the Achilles Tendon to hurry me up. Yes, my cat bit the foot that feeds him.

  2. Darn it, should have previewed, quote got swallowed…

    Congrats!

    <<I have to tell you that I hope we never do go to pure digital output as far as books are concerned, because there really nothing like having a finished, printed, physical copy of your novel in your hands. It’s what makes it really really real.>>

    Yes, but if you need to re-read the book for some reason (let’s say, to work on the sequel :) ), are you going to a) pick up the paper edition, or b) fire up a kindle or ipad and read the ebook version?

    I guess since you have the original doc files, you’ve got lots of other options too :) But if you had to pick between a and b, which would you take?

  3. Yeah! That means mine should show up at the doorstep soon!
    I agree with the print-flip positives. When I translate, it’s much easier to flip through the printed book than to scroll down the pdf.

  4. John Scalzi:

    Fair enough…

    I usually pick up books to read them linearly, which is a different use case. And these days, I find that even if I own the paper version, I’m likelier to buy the ebook if I’m going to reread something. Easier on my (getting) old eyes to be able to blow up the font size as the day wears on (and easier not to carry the book around, for that matter…)

  5. There truly is nothing like a hardback book. For me a big part of it is the random accessness (according to spell check that is not a word but it works…) that e-books don’t have. Love my kindle but it’s not the same nor do I think it will ever be.

    After 60+ years with cats the only thing I know for sure is that I’m not smart enough to figure out what they are thinking. Cats just ARE. With that said, I do believe “unimpressed” can be used to describe their general attitude toward human behavior.

  6. Yay hardcovers! A file on a screen will never replace the experience. Heck, a lot of the pleasure is cracking open a brand new one and snorting deeply of the glue and fresh ink! :-)

  7. I can hardly wait until my copy arrives.

    @ Pam Adams – Everyone knows that cats “accidentally” knock over the most expensive item in their vicinity. That ukelele would be Zeus’ priority target.

  8. He was ready for his closeup, and you stick a book in his light. This must be a pattern of neglect, thus the “love” bite. I’m surprised that he hasn’t attempted tripping you on the stairs.

  9. While I’m a total techonaut, there is nothing quite like a book. It’s art on two different dimensions. The words within and the singular vessel upon which those words dwell. I keep my books and only very rarely do I give them up.

  10. “Mike: Cats are generally against literacy.”

    My experience has been to the contrary. My cat encourages my literacy, as a nice comfy lap upon which to sleep appears for him when I sit down to read a book.

  11. I totally agree, John. I’ve read plenty of ebooks before, but I always ended up reading the same books in book format. Its one thing to slide from one page to another, but much better (and easier) to flip back and forth and hold your place with a real book. I believe that real books should always have dominance over ebooks, especially if there’s an apocalypse and something happens to our technology and ebooks become inaccesible. There’s a feeling you get when you’re looking at and holding a book, and a different feeling when you’re holding a nook with lots of books on it. I think that the feeling of the actual book is much more meaningful than just another piece of technology

  12. Plus, there’s nothing like the feeling of seeing all your favorite books on the shelf. No matter how convenient ebooks are, they will never be able to do that.

  13. Hey, cat, you’d be impressed if you knew this was paying for your kibble. Not to mention that chair you’re so comfortably napping on.

    –I forget if Krissy works for pay outside the house? (I’m sure she works plenty for nonpay inside the house.) Maybe Zeus figures your wife pays for the kibble and your books pay for useless/scary things such as the car, trips to the vet, and redoing the kitchen.

    GlochidiaGirl @2:49 : My cat likes the lap that appears with books, but I think he likes the TV-watching lap better, since then there is nothing preventing my hands from scratching his ears. His primary interest in books is as something to use as an unofficial scratching post.

  14. And its pick of the month at the Science Fiction Book Club, by the way (not an advert.)(honest)

  15. Easier on my (getting) old eyes to be able to blow up the font size as the day wears on…

    Mike G.,
    That’s a big reason why I do most of my reading on my iPad. These eyes just don’t tolerate lower light levels like they used to. Having a backlit screen is a boon and when the light is not a good idea, reverse contrast/color is also good. And having a definition a touch away sure is nice too.

  16. -E at 3:02: My cat also likes the TV-watching lap, but that tends to disappear during commercials, so he prefers the book reading lap which is much more stable.

  17. I thought Zeus was doing his best Old Spice impression, “Look at me, Look at the Book, Now back to me…”

  18. “Mike: Cats are generally against literacy.”

    GlochidiaGirl: My experience has been to the contrary. My cat encourages my literacy, as a nice comfy lap upon which to sleep appears for him when I sit down to read a book.

    The cat passed away in my early twenties but she generally saw any space between my eyes and a book as an inviting place to nap and demand petting tribute. I think I favor a more recumbent reading posture than you. At that age I liked to read newspapers on the floor and that was absolutely an invitation to be interrupted by a cat.

    Now I sometimes share my reading chair with a puppy. Sometimes she will settle down and read my tablet along with me if I read one-handed, but laptop computers mean it’s time to intervene and demand full attention.

  19. Its one thing to slide from one page to another, but much better (and easier) to flip back and forth and hold your place with a real book.

    I’ve seen an article describing a study that suggests that people are better able to encode material in their head if they know where it is on the page and roughly what page it is on, so a physical book with a fixed layout may offer a retention advantage. One wonders if that is true for kids who are more accustomed to ebooks from the start.

    My Nook offers “page numbers” that are invariant with the particular formatting options. With some ebooks, these numbers seem to make sense to me in the sense that they are probably about right for a print edition of the book. On other ebooks they are more like meaningless record locators, since the “pages” are clearly quite small and the book has more than a thousand of them.

    It seems to me like there ought to be a current word counter. For that matter since I can’t see how thick the book is when I buy it, I’d like there to be a word count in the catalog description.

    I don’t think I’d care to do a problem set from an ebook where I had to flip back and forth from the problem to the relevant text to the various tables of constants and equations.

    People tend to wax poetic about the sensual experience of book reading and the smell and the feel of the pages. I tend to be skeptical. I’m sure that once upon a time people sighed wistfully at the memory of being the first to read a book and having the joy of cutting the pages with a small knife. Ugh; I’ve never had to do that and am glad of it. I expect that kids will adopt ebooks just fine and will be glad of not needing several pieces of furniture dedicated to storing the corpses of trees, or for that matter discs of vinyl, or bonded plastic & aluminum, or ribbons of plastic & iron oxide. For many geeks it would be like buying a house and getting a free room.

    I used to follow rec.music-makers.piano (or something like that) and there was quite a divide between people who demanded a real piano and those were willing to settle for a digital piano. One of the more impassioned enthusiasts for real pianos said roughly “If you are truly a passionate piano player, the cost of a grand piano isn’t beyond reach”. One of the respondents said (again roughly), “yes, but the cost of a house with a room dedicated to a piano is beyond mine”.

  20. Mike said: I’m sure that once upon a time people sighed wistfully at the memory of being the first to read a book and having the joy of cutting the pages with a small knife.

    I *do* sigh wistfully; there is something about knowing you are absolutely for certain the first person to read this book….(and I did not grow up in the Once upon a time!)

  21. I remember when there was a line of mystery paperbacks that had the last chapter sealed. So you had to get a knife or scissors to see the ending, rather than just flipping to it and cheating. Late 70′s?

  22. I find that ebooks are great for searching for references to obscure characters, particularly when I novel has a great many characters, or the characters are referred to by more than one name.

    (Yes, The Human Division was one of these – it took me a very long time to work out that Schmidt and Hart and Harry and Wilson were only two guys, and getting their first and surnames paired up correctly took even longer. So glad I had an ebook reader for reference!)

    Ebook readers are also great for low light conditions – and not disturbing people sleeping in the same room. (There’s nothing quite like a backpacker who likes to read late at night – I find the light worse than noise!)

    But nothing beats a novel for presence, weight, or durability – try taking your favourite electronic device to the beach, sauna, spa, or pool – and then getting all the little bits of water, salt and sand back out of it after you’ve finished!

  23. I have yet to hear of a good way for an author to sign an ebook. Collector-me keeps buying hardcopies just so they can be signed.

  24. It may not qualify as a “good” way for an author to sign an ebook, but I’m quite happy with my collection of signatures on my Kindle cover. And the previous signatures give me something to talk about with authors besides stammering how much I love their books.

  25. Kore at 4/29/13 9:01pm said “Mike said: I’m sure that once upon a time people sighed wistfully at the memory of being the first to read a book and having the joy of cutting the pages with a small knife.

    “I *do* sigh wistfully; there is something about knowing you are absolutely for certain the first person to read this book….(and I did not grow up in the Once upon a time!)”

    Well, my memory of being the first to read a book and having to cut the pages with a small knife is not wist- or joy-ful. It was a lovely collection of Alexandre Dumas from the library and I was appalled and sad that no one had read them in a hundred years. These highly entertaining stories deserved better.
    (On the other hand, maybe I did grow up in the Once upon a time!)

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