Books here to stay

Despite the constant string of new technologies virtually replacing libraries, a British publisher believes paper books are here to stay.

In fact, London-based publisher and 2006 awardee of the Order of the British Empire, Margaret Busby told Barbados TODAY that she believed that publishing in the region should be strengthened.

“I am always quite glad to help anybody who wants to get involved in publishing, which is why I am involved in the Broadcast Lit Festival initiative to try to work with publishing in the region. They’ve started trying to work with the publishers in the region so quite obviously I would be happy to try and help out…

“I’m quite happy to help those in that area who might need a little assistance. If I have experience that I can share, fine. So I do think it is important that publishing in the region is strengthened. I think people need to be able to say well I don’t have to rely on being published in US or the UK or Canada, maybe we should look at strengthening our regional publishing and distribution systems, why not?” she queried.

Busby said while she believed new technologies like the Kindle and other devices have their place, people will still enjoy the literal feel of books in their hands.

Speaking at the end of her two-week trip here, the woman whose family migrated from Barbados, said, “I’m not terribly up on it yet because it is all very new, but I think anything that helps to get information out to people can’t be bad. So long as people are not being exploited and so long as writers are being rewarded however they should and it does not lead to people ripping off from other people.

“I guess it’s there and it is going to get bigger and developed. I’m not saying that I would ever like it to replace books. I would like people to support the printed books as well,” she said.

Most writers and publishers, she said, get involved in the literary world because of physical books they either bought or saw in libraries whether their own or public ones. As such, she noted that chances were that there were people who would still want that physical copy to read.

“I think that is how young people will get involved in the literary world or get a love for books by actually seeing books on their parents’ shelves or by reading from the literal book rather than online, which is what youngsters do these days. I think the physical object can be a very attractive thing.

“There are very good and practical reasons for having electronic books now. Obviously it is a useful way to access information but I don’t think it will ever totally replace the physical object,” Busby noted. (LB)

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