E-rotica in Fiction (and Encyclopædias? )

It’s the end of print as we know it!

Where have I heard that before? Well, in too many places (book conferences, pubs or otherwise) to actually care anymore, I’m afraid…print isn’t actually going to die, it’s the mutation and occupancy of both the physical and the digital that I’m more interested about.

So if you haven’t heard the news, the Encyclopædia Britannica is ceasing its almost ageless print run. All 32 volumes are now available online via a subscription database. A pretty handy business model if your primary market are schools and academic libraries, and one increasingly being used in STM (Scientific, Technical, Medical) publishing.

But what does this have to do with e-books and erotic fiction?

Well, “e-rotica” just happens to be one of the fastest growing segments of the e-book business, and if it’s all down to the fact that you can read it comfortably on your e-reader without anyone knowing then more power to you (and whatever else happens to float your boat). If you’re a publisher, it’s a market worth capitalising on (if you can do it right). Outside of the stable of Mills & Boon, Harlequin Romance Novels and Black Lace, HarperCollins now appear to be getting into bed (pardon the pun) with an e-only erotic fiction list, called Mischief Books.

According to the Wall Street Journal (via the QuillBlog), Editorial Director, Adam Nevill said the e-books will offer all the “private pleasures with a hand-held device.” I don’t think it’s that hard to think of other hand-held devices that may lend themselves to the seeking of pleasure, but I admire his association!

But all this leaves me wondering and curious to know what the real motivations are behind reading sexed-up, lusty literature versus, say, watching pornography. Are there any distinctions to be made there? Does it only really have to be about the narrative (in writing as opposed to the lack of dialogue (and acting) in videos)? And could “reading porn” be just as damaging to women as “watching porn” is for men?

I don’t have the answers to these questions, but if it gets you thinking, please let me know. I only have my experiences of reading and watching pornography, both of which are nil and “not for a very long time” respectively.

However, the conversation over at the Good Men Project is always one worth following…it’s not my intention on this blog to raise these sorts of issues – I only saw a potential correlation worth flagging.

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