This weekend I spent Saturday morning at the bi-annual Lifeline Bookfest. For those of you have never been, picture two incredibly large exhibition halls, lined with tables, each one stacked with literally hundreds of secondhand books. ‘Bargains by the kilometre’ is how the Brisbane Times described it, with more that 2.5 million books for sale. Lifeline Bookfest is the world’s largest second hand book sale, and this Lost Shark picked up some incredible bargains, including Fractured Karma by Tom Clark, The Epigrams of Martial by Laurie Duggan, Voyage into Solitude by Michael Dransfield and Cup Full of River by Billy Jones. I walked away with a dozen poetry titles, some first editions, for just $3. That is a great way to start any weekend.
While I was walking around, semi-intoxicated by the smell of old books, I thought back to a question that was posed by Ashley Capes in response to the interview I did with Tiggy Johnson. Ashley asked ‘whether any of us could pin-point some of the things that made print publication so satisfying?’
As tactile beings, books offer a gift that is hard to define, and the experience of reading a good one can last a lifetime. For me, there’s no way to compare the fine art of bookmaking to designing even the most sophisticated web site/blog/ebook etc… I don’t see the digital revolution as a threat to books. In fact I think it provides exciting opportunities for print and digital media to intersect and evolve, with both forms benefiting.
But it is a great question that Ashley raises and one that I hope many of you will respond to… I look forward to reading your comments and exploring this issue further.