Thursday, February 19, 2015

3-D Printing... a Book

I have long been promising that (someday !) my blog site will offer up some of my extended narratives (originally issued as a series of shorter blog posts) as 'books'.

Books indeed - both in the now-traditional e-book but also in my 21st Century 'downloadable' take on the old 19th Century (printed) 'story paper'.

Basically the nineteenth century 'story paper' was a long story issued not as an expensive hardcover book, but instead rather like a newspaper.

A newspaper-like object in that it was printed, seemingly from cover to cover, in small type in multiple narrow columns on cheap paper and then simply folded like a newspaper rather than stapled like a magazine or bound between hard covers like a book.

It provided a lot of reading for the poorer in society in a lightweight, ultra cheap package.

My sometimes worldclass university, Dalhousie, owes its very existence to two forms of theft.

It was first founded on monies obtained by imposing British custom duties on American New Englanders at Castine Maine during the 1812-1814 War.

Later it was saved from going belly up by generous donations received from benefactor George Munro, who first made his fortune pirating American 'story paper' versions of copyrighted British bestsellers.

(The two events seemingly balancing each other, morally, I have often thought. But my university - being Scottish Presbyterian in origin - totally fails to see the humour in all of this !)

I have a rather soft spot for George, who helped bring needed democracy to the rarified aristocracy of books.

My version will have a Readers Digest sized page printed in two columns (like the later and much more famous dime novel) but will be folded rather than stapled, like Munro's earlier story paper.

But I will not print it and ship it out.

(And by the bye, this model can work just as well with books that are to be sold for profit but as it happens my books are going to be totally free - open commensal, I call it.)

So anyone can freely download my pre-imposed PDF files and simply print them out on any ordinary home computer printer, fold them and they have some 'books'.

True, the e-books are equally free, looks much better on the screen than does the print version does in person and cost nothing in time, ink and paper - so why bother ?

I think it is because to many people an e-book is too intangible while a print book is a very physical object in three dimensions ( ie 3-D) - something solid and heavy to hold in their hands.

So in an unusual sense, my 21st century downloadable story paper is really part of the sustained move to 3-D printing...

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