Friday, May 23, 2014

Where's the Tree?

Across the street, a small pile of sawdust sits where not an hour before loomed a towering tree. I'd watched a man climb up and saw various portions of the trunk off to fell the tree. It had to go, because it was old and diseased, yet it was a part of our neighborhood, and I felt bad watching its demise.

I'm not the only one. While I gazed at what remained, I saw a bewildered bird scampering amidst the sawdust. I could only imagine what ran through its head. It had to be wondering, "Where's the Tree?"

Though there are plenty of other trees in the neighborhood, the sight of the bird's confusion saddened me. It also made me think about the ongoing publishing industry changes.

I'm not a huge environmentalist, but I do my part, separating the recyclables from other garbage, and turning off the lights when I'm not in a room.

I've also joined the e-book revolution and have published all of my books in that format, but still a few in print.

I'm now addicted to reading mainly on my Kindle. A Kindle is convenient. I can adjust the font to a comfortable size, I always have plenty of books at my disposal without wearing out my back, plus I have space in my house for other items.

Still, I have to admit that when I attended my chapter's Spring Fling 2014 Conference toward the end of April, I eagerly accepted the freebie paperbacks on the goodie table, along with those offered by the headliner speakers.

I hadn't noticed in a while, but did miss the look,  feel, and smell of print books. The problem is that print books are made from trees. In a way, that makes me feel guilty, but in another, not.

I still plan on publishing mostly e-books. I'll still do most of my reading on Kindle. However, I may sneak in a print book or two at times. Some birds, but not all, might still wonder, "Where's the tree?"

What about you?

Experience the diversity & versatility of Morgan Mandel. For romantic comedy: Her Handyman & Girl of My DreamsThriller: Forever Young: Blessing or CurseShort Stories Sequel: the Blessing or Curse CollectionRomantic suspense: Killer Career. Mystery: Two WrongsTwitter:@MorganMandel Websites: Morgan Mandel.Com Chick Lit Faves 

21 comments :

  1. Thanks Morgan; an entertaining post. I'm pretty strong on the environment, but I don't count paper books as a negative: most publishers use paper from sustainable sources and many are now on recycled paper. The book industry isn't a huge destroyer of forests and the ebook market allows you to reach less than half of the potential readers. I think knowledge and its spread is possibly more important at this stage in our evolution to self-destruction, so I'd place publishing a paperback higher on the positive list than failing to provide vital information.
    What I'm trying to say here is that publishing in a paper form isn't the worst use of the resource: think of all the tons of largely unnecessary packaging that is dumped straight to landfill, for instance.
    I love trees, always have. But I also want people to read my work. I have eight books out, two at present in paperback form, one of which is a great tome that would probably make around 3 normal sized novels!
    So, I say, publish in paper form without guilt: get the words out there and reach the maximum readership. At least with POD we no longer have the ludicrous issue of large numbers of remainders being turned into material for resurfacing roads (Yes, this really did happen!).

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    1. Good points, Stuart. Also, POD should have been adopted way long ago!

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    2. If I may add a comment here...I agree with Stuart about degrees of negative and also with Morgan about the advantages of electronic formats. What the future holds for the publishing world I have no idea — currently it's in a state of flux. But as both of you so well stated, we presently are enjoying the best of both worlds.

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  2. While I read on my I-Pad, the majority of books I read are in the traditional form...I spend a lot of time at the library. I agree with Stuarts something about a paper book means more to me.

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    1. I'd hate to lose our libraries, that's for sure! I have many pleasant memories of trips to the library!

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  3. My chest hurts when I see a tree being brought down. After the 5 canes that came through in 2005, so many of my neighbors took out trees for fear the next storm would bring it down on their house. Our neighborhood went from the most beautiful canopied in Tampa, to just another humble tract. So sad. Kills me still to walk down and see sky where there were limbs a few years ago filled with birds and squirrels. Alas. (I've rambled...sorry)

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  4. We have a neighbor who chopped all the trees in his yard just because he doesn't like trees. Something wrong with that guy.

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  5. Personally,I'm a dinosaur, Morgan ... I prefer my books, newspapers and magazines in print ... have an iPad, but can't get into reading stuff on the tablet ... just can't. However, I do see the future, and it is one word: digital. Haven't sold a print book in over a year, but a steady drip, drip of digital versions shows me what is going on. Now, if I could just figure out a way to turn the drip, drip into a torrent.

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    1. When you find out, let me know, too!

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  6. I deal with enough frustrating electrical devices, I don't want to relax with another one. I still prefer paper over plastic. I urge all authors to consider a offering a print version - it isn't that difficult to format or upload. There are templates that make it easy and you can virtually proof it a hundred times to make sure you've got it right. Otherwise, there are still plenty of us dinosaurs that will miss out on your work. We should plant more trees either way. We need the shade and the oxygen. :)

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    1. I self-published two of mine in print. It was a very painstaking business trying to get the bottoms of the pages to line up right, even widows and orphans feature turned off.

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  7. Interesting topic for discussion, Morgan. Thanks for starting it. I think many of us ache when a tree is cut down, especially for no reason. The man who bought my mother's house years ago made the stipulation that we cut down the old elm in the back yard. There was nothing wrong with it, and like your neighbor, he just didn't like it. That hurt on several levels. First we had to pay to have the tree cut down, and secondly, the tree held so many great memories of afternoons spent sitting on a large branch and reading.

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    1. I can understand if a tree is a hazard,but otherwise keep it! Trees are things of beauty.

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  8. "Deforestation" typically applies to huge wooded areas such as the rain forests, but it has a more personal (and occasionally sinister) application to the home front. Recently, in our arid climate in Colorado, several large trees were removed from the yard of our home because they had been killed by disease or some pervasive beetle. Regardless of the reason for their demise, the pleasantly shaded lot that offered some protection from the scorching summer sun no longer provide that relief. This is a sad situation — for us at the moment and for any who live here in the future. Increased use of the evaporative cooler compensates somewhat for the absence of shade, but the beauty of the landscape and habitat for birds and squirrels has been destroyed. Yes, very sad indeed.

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    1. We had two trees on our parkway that got Dutch Elm disease and the village had to remove them. We could tell the difference without their shade. Fortunately the replacement trees have since grown tall.

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  9. There is room for both print and electronic; both products have problems. Yes, print takes trees and people don't appreciate the living tree as much as the dead one. Of the two, electronic is problematic as all the devices that commonly get trashed contain many hazardous heavy metals. Tree products are usually readily recycled or composted since we no longer use lead in inks. This information is very simplistic as other cause-effect relationships exist in both forms.

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    1. Very true. It does seem there's no easy answer for anything.

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  10. I read ebooks when traveling, but that doesn't stop me buying print books to bring home. I have bookcases on every floor of my house (many bookcases, really) and they're all full. I love my print books! My games, however, are all downloadable, and need to be printed out in order to be played. As for trees - I have a huge fear of tall ones (and wind) ever since my neighbour's tree fell on my house during a windstorm five years ago.

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    1. We had a tree fall on our summer cottage, but fortunately we weren't there then. Another nice tree grew out if the stump.

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  11. Hi Morgan, I've seen old, diseased trees being taken down. It is a sad sight, especially when one realizes that even a dead/dying tree is home to wildlife.

    Your note about reading on your kindle made me smile. A few nights ago I picked up a book from my keeper shelf and started reading it, only to have a revelation. The print had gotten smaller! Then I realized how spoiled I am with my kindle. I adjust the font size to something very easy to read and off I go. But for my old favs, I need to dig out my reading glasses again. The joys of aging!

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  12. Yes, young and old can both enjoy e-readers such as Kindles!

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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