One of the many conveniences I’ve noticed about my e-reader is that it makes the largest of books seem just as weighty as the lightest.
Witness: Neal Stephenson’s Anathem. This is a book that I purchased shortly after it came out in hardback and never read. From time to time, I would look at the book and say, “I should read that; however, I am going to take a bath/going to go out to a restaurant/going to take a trip with limited packing space, and this is too freaking big to handle conveniently in such a situation.” I checked it out from the library in ePub format. It now weighs just as much as anything else I read on the ebook.
I’m wondering whether ereaders will change not just the way or the times we read, but the length of what we read. I’m pretty sure there will be a resurgence in short stories, with feeds that load onto your reader every time you’re within WiFi range. And I really hope there are more novellas; I like them.
But regarding long works: I’ve heard stories about books that had to be split into two or three parts, turned into trilogies, because the publisher couldn’t afford to publish them all of a piece. I wonder whether that practice will continue for ebooks. It probably will for a while, as people continue to buy a lot of bound books.
On the other hand, I’ve been seeing a lot of bundle deals for series. Perhaps the series editions of these books that were originally intended to be a single book can be formatted so the book is more continuous for the reader.