What is a book?

“Brave question!”, You will be thinking some. It is enough to go to the well-used dictionary of the RAE and read, among other meanings: “all non-periodic forms containing 49 pages or more, excluding covers”. Enough? Not for me.

Do not you think that beyond this general definition there is another series of values, historical and cultural, associated with the concept “book”? I am going to reflect on this topic that, for a while, worries me a lot.

Until a few years ago, a book became such after an editor decided that a work that came to him was of sufficient quality to make it worthwhile to bet on it, to invest in the many tasks involved in the editing process and to get it out to light with the publication of a more or less elevated circulation.

We are talking about the need for the editor to have a book. Without his decision, without his confidence, millions of ideas would remain in the drawers, full of dust, forgotten, hidden, self-conscious for not having passed the great sieve, resting at last after what might have been a long and painful editorial journey in an editorial It could be that the works of Borges had never seen the light, to whom some foreign publishers told him that it was totally untranslatable; or Joyce, who also received denials from publishers who rated his Ulysses as obscene.

On the other hand, we also have very old examples of writers who bet on their idea and published their self-financing work: Borges himself paid for the edition of Fervor de buenos aires and Lewis Carroll took over the expenses of Alicia in the country of wonders Therefore, if we did not have an editor, but we did have money to cover certain expenses, it seems that there could be a book. Let’s keep going…

One of the news that is shaking the publishing sector is the already well-known, for those of us who move through these parts, a phenomenon of self-publishing (if you are confused, maybe this post will help you).

A multitude of platforms that allow independent writers to fulfill their dreams of turning their ideas into books have emerged and emerged. Most of these options are free, therefore, there is no editor, there is no money, but there is a book. It seems that we are moving forward. Or not.

When the publisher was the main option or someone paid for the process, the books that came to our hands had a professional cover and layout (more or less depending on the type of edition and editorial), as well as a filtered content, almost without errors of spelling (allow me the “almost”, since few books are exempt from the inevitable errors).

I refer to those books that some value as unique and special cultural pieces; whether they are technical (main ways of entering knowledge and knowledge) or windows to other realities and to powerful fantasy worlds without which we would be poorer; less free; we would be more limited … Regardless of the topic they were about or the history they contained, the books, historically, have been considered examples to follow; I’ve always heard that you learn to write by reading; that misspellings disappear by reading …

At this point, my reflection leads me to the following questions: what characteristics do we understand that a book should possess? Can (or should) this lack of correction, of quality, of a professional aspect? The lack of these three values is, without a doubt, the great brand that stigmatizes self-publishing.

I continually read a multitude of opinions that affirm categorically that this phenomenon is equal to mediocrity; that discourages authors from entering this world, assuring them of an inevitable loss of prestige; who turn their back almost without knowing the true extent of this phenomenon.

I am in absolute disagreement and not only because I have self-published my book as a first option, without even considering sending it to a publisher; but because thanks to social networks I have known and discover every day independent authors who are great, great writers, brave, fighters … and yes they offer us quality works that, perhaps, we would never have known if we were dependent on an editorial.

Of course, there are also many dark shadows, perhaps too opaque. Without going any further last night, I closed (and abandoned) a book that was quite peeved by the abundance of lack of spelling; it’s not the first time.

Where will all this take us? Will not be resentful, along the way, that culture to which we intend to favor eliminating filters and increasing the decision-making capacity of the reader? Will the books cease to be those references in which to learn the best use of our language? Can one call, then, everything that is published today?

I leave these questions unanswered, I would like an interesting debate to open in which you will leave your opinions and enrich my perspective. In the only thing that not only wet me, but I throw myself into the pool with all my belongings is to make a high and clear bet for the QUALITY. A good cover and layout will always help with the promotion and will allow us to find a space in the market; but a revised content, with correction, without faults, that is essential!

If we do not master the language, let’s hire a proofreader to check our spelling and style. Everything is not worth, can not be worth, in any area of life or in the editorial. Defend the value of a book; defend the culture; Let’s bet on quality self-publishing !!

A good cover and layout will always help with the promotion and will allow us to find a space in the market; but a revised content, with correction, without faults, that is essential! If we do not master the language, let’s hire a proofreader to check our spelling and style. Everything is not worth, can not be worth, in any area of life or in the editorial. Defend the value of a book; defend the culture; Let’s bet on quality self-publishing !!