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Friend of Hobblebush,

We hope you're enjoying the warm weather as much as we are! Spring is a great time to sit outside with a good book. This month, we'd love to hear your answer to this question:

Do you prefer reading e-books or print books?

Please share your thoughts (short or long) with us on our Facebook page or through email.

This month, you can purchase Tales of the François Vase (the book and radio-play CD) for only $16!

The vase speaks!

Tales of the François Vase cover

Julia Older’s obsession with the famous François Vase led to both a radio play and a book-length poem. The dramatic 25-century journey of the vase winds through a subterranean inferno of greed, passion, and terror. Twice it was smashed into 600-plus pieces, and was puzzled together, each time with a piece missing. A third time — during the 1966 Florence Flood — a scientist intentionally broke the vase. He restored it with the missing piece, and at last it was whole.

Older’s book offers readers the entire fascinating story, in a poem that is an extended metaphor for wholeness. The book is illustrated with the vase figures from the Iliad and the book includes a “backstory” with Older’s original translations of her research.

Interview with Julia Older


E-Books, Print Books and Love Affairs

A message from Sid Hall:

I loved e-books for a while. Now I hate 'em. Probably I'll love them again later on. The more I know, the more I love/hate 'em.

I've always loved print books, as long as I can remember, and I know I always will.

Everyone knows the obvious advantages to the e-book in terms of storage and availability and saving trees, but you can't smell an e-book, or at least you shouldn't. You can't hear the pages crackle. You can't rest your coffee cup on one, or stretch it over your eyes to keep the sun out. You can't drop it in the lake and dry it off in the sun or press leaves between the covers. You can't give it to your best friend after your done.

You can have different print books everyplace you go through life and in every room you inhabit and you don't have to plug any of them in. Print books sit on your shelves like colorful friends huddling together and they remind you they are there. They call out to you when you might want to ignore them.

But—dropping the romanticism now—the bottom line is content.  It's what the words say and how they enter the heart and mind that counts. Why should it matter if we get this from an e-book or a print book? Well it turns out that this is where print books excel. The whole job of a print book designer is to make the content sing for the reader, and when the designer has done the job right, the reader has no idea why this book is singing. The e-book designer can only create a loose approximation of what a reader will see. Readers have most of the control and readers generally don't know beans about book design. So the person reading an e-book is getting content in a very haphazard way.

E-books are amazing things and have their own beauty. I know what's under the hood and it's a lot more complicated than you may think. Hidden in there are dozens of cryptically-named files. They are all zipped together into one neat file like you see on your Nook or Kindle. But they are little websites. The engineering is really impressive.

The engineering is impressive but the art is only beginning. Maybe someday it will arrive. I want to love these things, but the old love of my life, the print book, has her hooks in me still and I'm fine with that.

Victoria talks about her internship

Victoria and Holly read Tales of the François Vase together

As an intern at Hobblebush Books, I have had the opportunity to explore all aspects of independent publishing. In February I contacted Sid Hall, asking if he had advice for someone aspiring to work in the publishing field. He responded with an offer for a three-month internship, which I gratefully accepted. Over the past two months, Sid has patiently worked with me to teach me the basics. I have observed and participated in typesetting, editing, and design using Adobe Creative Suite. I learned how to copy edit and proofread manuscripts, and use the Chicago Manual of Style. Moreover, I was also able to work with Kirsty Walker, the marketing director, researching potential markets for books and events for authors. My experience at Hobblebush has been not only enriching and educational, but also a fun and inspiring introduction to the world of publishing! Not to mention, I got to work with Holly, who taught me the value of a good book and a nice afternoon nap!

Learn more about internships at Hobblebush.