Technology drives me to distraction when it doesn't work, but in calmer moments, I often reflect on the benefits it has brought, not least to readers and writers. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that publishing has been revolutionised in recent years by technological advance. Now that it is possible to publish books cheaply, either in print form, or as ebooks, many titles are available that would have been impossible to find in the past.
I'm not just talking about reprints of classic crime novels. Authors of non-fiction are benefiting hugely. Of course, technology has (in a sense) impacted harshly on non-fiction books. So much information is available online at the click of a mouse that traditional publishers may well be wary about taking on new titles unless it's very clear that there's an eager readership for them. But two books landed on my doorstep yesterday that reminded me of those benefits I've mentioned.
The first is a book I've mentioned here previously, the updated version of the late Bob Adey's Locked Room Murders. John Pugmire and Brian Skupin have rendered crime fans a great service by revising this splendid book, which in its original editions is almost impossible to find at a reasonable price. The book appears under John's Locked Room International imprint, and LRI is one of those small presses which have made admirable use of technology to make available books which are fascinating yet which might have a relatively limited readership. Strongly recommended - and I can't wait for the promised further update of Bob's splendid work...
The second is John Goddard's Agatha Christie's Golden Age, a chunky and in-depth study of the Poirot stories, with an intro by John Curran. This book is published by Stylish Eye Press, an imprint set up by John Goddard himself. Again, this is a volume which might not sell in the tens of thousands yet which seems to be a very worthwhile venture. I'm looking forward to reading it, but without that technological progress I've mentioned, I'd never have had the chance. Something to remind myself of the next time my PC breaks down!