Eighteen months ago I started reading print books again. Previously, I had been a Kindle junkie. I amassed a huge library of digital books and read them voraciously. As a novelist, I was fascinated by the evolution of the form.
But the Kindle ecosystem is starting to feel like GeoCities. It’s closed, dated, and stagnant. That said, it allows publishers to charge for stories and the plumbing behind it still works very smoothly.
For short/medium-form stories, Medium is open, minimalist, and flexible. That’s why I serialized my first novel and published it on Medium in its entirety (to my knowledge, the first novel to be published that way). It’s been a fun experiment but Medium still doesn’t work well for long-form writing.
Medium isn’t designed for long-form (yet!), print is. My bookshelves are filled with tomes that feel more like friends than “content.” Reading a print book has the additional benefit of not being connected. Notifications and texts don’t interrupt an emotionally moving scene or an intellectually challenging argument. Plus, I can give the book to a friend who might love it and we can debate its tenets deep into the night.
But I’m still searching for long-form’s digital home. Not because I want to ditch print books again, but because the connectivity of the internet must offer something new and special to the innate human connectivity of the book.
If not Medium, where?