Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

We had a mailshot from the Frankfurt Book Fair yesterday.

It said “Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) and the Frankfurt Book Fair are this year asking again for entries to be submitted for the DAM Architectural Book Award 2013. All art and architectural book publishers worldwide are invited to do so.”

Excellent, I thought. Our profusely illustrated Heritage Ebooks will be just the ticket, and will get us some much needed publicity — and maybe some sales as well.

But apparently not.

My proposal was curtly answered: “I am sorry but online publications are not to be considered.”

Well, they are not online publications. They are ebooks, in Kindle and EPUB formats. The titles are not available in print format, as the Active Location Finder we use to physically locate the buildings described in the books can only work in an ebook.

So I told them. Now they have sent us a holding letter while the Deutsches Architekturmuseum and the Frankfurt Book Fair deliberate as to whether an ebook can be regarded as a book.

Should I be holding my breath?


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11 Responses to “When Is A Book Not A Book?”

  1. Granville says:


  2. Phil Dawson says:

    When is a book not a book? Probably the same question as ‘When is a photograph not a photograph?

    I sympathise with your logic, but if you can’t pick it up and get it soggy when you spill your gin over it, its probably not a book!

  3. Brian Murray says:

    Outrageous. Perhaps next time you should have one hand written on vellum, (in Latin) with hand drawn illustrations and with a chain to attach it to the desk. This may convince them that it is a book.

    If it has relevant pictures and words in it, it’s a book.

  4. lucia says:


    Leafing through an e-book is quite an amazing experience.
    Because it’s still new, because it’s so mobile?
    I don’t know.
    You do not need a library anymore, as you can pile the e-books up in your purse
    or in your pocket. Wow!
    But the librarian?
    Does he or she still have a face? A voice?
    Don’t we love talking to librarians?

    Which reminds me to take a look to a worldwide famous TV ad for “Johnny Walker”:

    There still are books I cannot afford,
    so the e-book is a convenient solution
    for me, as a reader. Is it for me, a book-lover?

    Online publications should be considered
    as online publications. They should enter
    the fairs as such. On different “shelves”.
    Last but not least, how many trees are destroyed every year so we can enjoy reading books on printed paper? What pollution is more dangerous for us and for the environment on a long-term? Discarded computers and cells or destroyed forests?

    Dear Librarian, keep breathing…

  5. Mike Mumford says:

    I live in both worlds’, the type-setting age, and the electronic computer world, operating at the speed of light.
    Both worlds are real to me, every day I read traditional paper-page books from paperbacks to antiquarian.
    As a publisher my books start off as electronic data stored and ready for multimedia use, accessible anywhere instantly. There is total interaction with the world-wide-web. Almost unlimited access to every piece of data, like any government department, Mr Edward Snowden exposes mass surveillance and government secrecy.
    We have to educate ourselves, the real world is fast moving real paper books are here to stay and gone tomorrow. Like any good antique it will have lasting value if it has quality, the same goes for the eBook, judge for your-self at Mumfordbooks, “mum’s the word”, and the government knows it. The old adage “knowledge is power”.
    Ask yourself, can type written books be controlled eBooks cannot as they are expressions of free speech, as I am writing this “Blog”. To you now, you are free to spread the word.

  6. Michael says:

    Why not, kids in the United States are now being required to purchase an ebook reader in order to save money on books that are always being updated. If they were smart they would allow this and maybe they would increase there reveneq as well.

  7. Derek Metson says:

    They are both books. But did you see the recent report that something over 90% of all ebook/kindle/whatever sales are fiction titles.

    Proper small bookshops are still thriving and their success is with illustrated non-fiction works that people still enjoy owning and looking at full sized pictures.

    OK Gwyn, you have the gizmos in the Kindle version to help people get to the places featured, but I’d much rather have a printed full sized book of the type that privately owned (and I suppose Waterstones/Smiths are still selling and selling well.

    Much more appropriate to the excellent pictures that are not being done justice in the Kindle follies books.

    Any extra publicity for the Kindle books will be very welcome, but why not produce some proper printed books as well???