Isobelle Carmody and the Great Ebook Debate

A few months ago, the lovely Isobelle Carmody wrote to me and asked me if I’d like to be part of a new online venture she was undertaking, to coincide with the e-publication of her wonderful 1997 novel Greylands. The purpose of the site—only intended to be live for a month—is to celebrate the launch of the ebook, but also to play host to a lively “edebate” on book formats and reading in this rapidly changing world.

Many of you will have already visited the site (which you can find here) and enjoyed the lively discussion that has developed over the dozen or so posts in The Great eBook Debate that have been published so far, in both the essays posted and the conversations in the comments threads. There’s a terrific range of contributors—writers, librarians, academics—and me! Mine’s coming up tomorrow (July 16), and I’m really honoured that it will appear on the day that the Greylands ebook is officially launched.

As you’ll see, the eBook debate posts range from the highly personal through the technical, across the business side of epublishing to the academic. What unites us all—whether we’re for the traditional paper book or all about the ereader(or somewhere in between) is a love for story and a passion for whatever it takes to make sure that as many people can access books and stories whatever the format.

The site has caught the eye of more than Isobelle’s considerable fan base, or even just those of us fascinated (and somewhat terrified!) about the changes in hand and ahead for publishing. I’m told that the the contents of the site will be archived (details to follow), which is great news and a reminder that online content like this need not be ephemeral.

So if you haven’t already, then check out the site and join in the conversation. I’ll look forward to the comments that my own post elicits tomorrow—although I expect it will be (rightly) overshadowed by the book launch! (Dying to know who the mystery launcher is to be? Me too! I’ve had a hint but only time will tell…)

So, whatever you or I might feel about ebooks (and you’ll have to wait until my post is up to know for sure!) I don’t think anyone could argue that the fact that a fine book such as Greylands is going to be available to new readers, and to existing fans to explore and enjoy all over again.  Congratulations, dear Isobelle! And hurrah for Greylands!

Me and Isobelle at the 2008 CBCA Conference in Melbourne.