My book in my hands

by SJ Griffin

The print proof of The Vanguard arrived yesterday so I got to hold my book in my hands for the first time.

I’ve always been a real advocate of Kindles and digital books because I like change and like technology and I love gadgets. This is not to say that I don’t love the humble paperback. Not that there’s anything humble about paperbacks.

There are some books that I want to read in traditional book form. I want the same relationship with them as a physical object as I had with the BFG when I was a kid. As I had with Catcher in the Rye, with On the Road. I want to hold the story in my hands and feel it in my body as well as my brain. My copy of my favourite book A Confederacy of Dunces is as tatty as anything. The corners are all fuzzy and the spine is so bent and creased you can’t read the title anymore. The pages are coming out and I can’t tape them in because the whole thing is now so fragile it’ll break. It’s been very well read by me and lent to the handful of people I’d trust with it. There are pets less loved than that object. Hemingway, Bukowski, Winterson, Ford and Ballard. None of these writers were meant to be read on a Kindle, in my opinion. There are others too.

But most stuff I’m more than happy to read on a Kindle. I’d rather. It’s much easier to read in bed and on the tube. Much, much easier to take on holiday. It took me three trips to work out why my suitcase was half empty, I was ten books lighter. Tolstoy, George R Martin anyone else writing 800 pages – thank you Kindle.  I don’t subscribe the idea that you can read that book we will never mention here in secret on the tube if you’ve got a Kindle. I’ve sat next to at least three people reading it and it’s been obvious what it is.

As you will know, regular reader, I was unbothered about publishing The Vanguard in print. I was all about the digital downloads. But I have to admit that yesterday, when I held my book in my hand it felt more real than any confirmation email from KDP.

And amazing. Of course.