Galey 2012

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Galey, Alan. "The Enkindling Reciter: E-Books in the Bibliographical Imagination." Book History 15.1 (2012): 210-247.

The Sentimentalists — designed by Gaspereau Press, small independent publisher that takes care over material form of books — has ragged right margins (not justified) — uses digitally modified old typeface (hybrid tech)

when the novel won the Giller prize, Canada’s most prestigious literary award, the small press couldn’t fill orders; caved to pressure to sell reprint rights

only copy available in time between novel winning Giller prize and reprint rights being sold was Kobo e-book

print bibliography: edition, impression, issue, state digital bibliography (Kirschenbaum): layer, version, release, object, state, instance, copy

typography: e-book retains note on typeface but uses different default typeface, Georgia

“In the Kobo versions the “Note on the Type” stands not as an informative and imaginative paratext, as it does in the print versions; rather, the Kobo “Note” becomes a textual fossil from a previous edition, which serves either to remind readers of the absent print version, or worse, to mislead readers into thinking that what they see on their Kobo screen represents the design philosophy of Eric Gill. “ (228)

“The Kobo version does not simply get the font wrong; it completely reverses the typographic politics of the print editions. “ (229)

title page: need to unpack epub file, which is encrypted because of DRP

epigraphs: have shifted in e-book version to end of chapter appearing to preface next chapter instead of its own; caused by incorrect sequence of database tables in Kobo-app version

“What we have learned, then, is that The Sentimentalists was almost certainly assembled correctly as an EPUB le, with the epigraphs in their proper places, and that the order became distorted when the EPUB data was imported into the Kobo app’s SQLite database.” (239)

“One of the consequences that the bibliographical study of e-books forces upon us is the need to rethink traditional bibliography’s basis in empiricism. To reverse the terms of the errant William James epigraph, the different forms of e-books may have no rocky bottom, no absolute Real that serves to anchor the evidence of our senses. The reason is simple: e-books, like all digital texts, require us to interpret phenomena not directly observable by the senses. We must rely on layers upon layers of digital tools and interfaces, as we have seen in the examples above. A purely empirical and forensic perspective assumes that objects speak for themselves, and yield up their evi- dence to the observation of human senses and the inquiry of human reason. My purpose in drawing attention to the role of the enkindling reciter is to emphasize that digital objects do not speak for themselves; someone always speaks for them.” (240)