fetish objects


September 15, 2009. The day publishing died. Or was saved. It’s really hard to tell which, but everyone agrees on one thing: That Dan Brown cat sure did something major to the book industry with the release of his new novel The Lost Symbol. Outside the talk about whether the monstrous sales (one million copies sold in the first 24 hours — a record for adult hardcover fiction) will save reading, or destroy independent bookstores through the competitive discounts of their rivals, one thing is for sure: People are going to overreact to the fact that Amazon is reporting more e-book sales than sales of physical copies of The Lost Symbol. Get ready for the latest round of books-as-physical-objects-are-dead, and the ebook will destroy publishing. (You think I’m exaggerating, but just go ahead and Google “will destroy publishing” or “will destroy reading” and see what you get.) Putting aside the fact that there are many more advantages to reading The Lost Symbol in particular on an e-book device — no need to look at that ugly cover art, nor to be sneered at by the high and mighty book critics who might be on your subway — this is not a sign that reading is dead, nor that the book as a physical object will disappear within our lifetime. While people are going to be reading in multiple formats — including e-book readers and iPhones, Web sites and miniformats like Twitter — the book is still a fetish object.

more from Jessa Crispin at The Smart Set here.