Saturday, November 10, 2012

Poetry E-Book Publishing: Wherefore Art Thou?

As the e-book has come barreling down the publishing highway, poets have been left mostly in the dust. Why haven't poetry e-books emerged on Kindles, Nooks, et al? Several forces are at work, the small size of poetry book publishers being one factor, but perhaps the most troublesome is being the pesky technical problem of not being able to control line breaks in e-book formats. A thought-provoking article about it appeared a year ago or so in Publishers Weekly. "Diverging Roads: Poetry and E-Books." The problem of line breaks shifting around when the reader of an e-book changes the font size has been an insuperable problem for many poetry book publishers and poets.

A few, however, have boldly gone where most poets don't want to go and allowed the e-book to change the line breaks. Diane Lockward's wonderful e-chapbook , Twelve for the Record, (Amazon-Kindle edition) is one of the poetry e-book groundbreakers.  But while the article said that Graywolf Press and Coffee House press had planned to have poetry e-books out by Fall of 2011, they have yet to produce them. Where are the poetry houses in this new e-publishing field? Way back in the stretch it seems. Time to gain some ground?