My New E-Book, “This Is Not a Book,” Now Available for Kindle

My latest longform work is more than an essay, more than a blog post, but not quite a book. The very title makes this clear. My new e-book is This Is Not a Book. The work is about physical books. Printed books and e-books are different from one another—fundamentally so—and something is lost if we assume that one is a ready substitute for the other. My new e-book explores their differences, and the e-book itself is an illustration of the difference. 

Writing my most recent book, physical book that is, took me about five years. I worked on it only in bits of time during that span, but still, getting from the point of first taking hold of the idea to arriving at a manuscript I felt was ready to publish required this much time and this length of consistency of thought. My new e-book was written in months; it was conceived, penned, and published entirely within the shelter-in-place period resulting from the coronavirus this year. From the outset of the comparison, then, there is that major difference between books and e-books: a difference in speed, gravity, scope, and even the burden on the writer in pursuing the thought. My e-book looks at, and seeks the meaning of, differences such as this.

This Is Not a Book
was inspired by the closure of my local public library during the pandemic. As I describe in the opening passage, the library did not seem to view itself as closed! Though physical books were locked away, e-books were still available for download. I felt moved to write, because one is not a substitute for the other. My e-book’s exploration of what an e-book is, what a book is, and the case for valuing both reaches all the way back to the last time the form of books shifted: the moment when the bound oblong codex we now call a “book” challenged the primacy of the scroll. Should the codex now yield as the scroll yielded, or is this moment different? The question speaks to more than the pleasures available to readers; it also speaks to the opportunities available for transmitting ideas across cultures and times.

This Is Not a Book is available for Amazon Kindle. Find it here.