December 16, 2010

The future of publishing and the e-book

Since I have worked in academic publishing, and since I continue to do so as a freelancer, I have a lot of interest in the future of the book. As an avowed bibliophile, I have personally shuddered in horror at the thought of replacing a beautiful bound volume with a plastic tablet with e-ink (they're very cool by the way, and I may even consider getting one in the coming years). Or even worse, replacing a beautifully filled shelf (or even room) in the same way. But while e-books are certainly here to stay, and are indeed putting pressure on an already tight-margin enterprise, I hold out a lot of hope that the book's demise is not anywhere in the near future. And, a great quote I read on the IVP Addenda & Errata blog this afternoon put the current e-reader trend in great perspective. Dan Reid of IVP writes, "As IVP’s Andy Le Peau likes to say, “The e-book is the new mass-market paperback.” That, at least, is a snapshot of e-publishing in the fall of 2010." And I think it's both true and somewhat encouraging. The books I'd consider putting on an e-reader are quick-read fiction, like Dan Brown or John Grisham, books most readers buy in mass-market editions (which aren't very lucrative for publishers anyway except in large quantities). So the landscape of publishing is certainly changing, but some of the new developments may not be quite as dire as the may at first seem. Long live the book!

December 14, 2010

IVP Black Dictionaries of the NT Compendium

While browsing my local academic library, I came across a volume I didn't know existed, a relatively immense one-volume compendium of the critically acclaimed dictionary series from IVP. It's about one thousand pages, and has selected entries from the four NT dictionaries. The entries aren't shortened, they've just been selective in which ones they include (which is a huge plus, leaving the entries in tact). And here's where I almost fell off my chair. When I got home, I found it on Amazon. And it's available new for $13.32! Each one of these dictionaries retails for $37.50, and you can't find them used for much less than that. So, yes, you may get less; I already have the Paul volume and I'd love all the others. But this may be a great solution in the mean time, a way to get some really great scholarship in a readily accessible and easily affordable format!

December 04, 2010

Just arrived: Thielman's Ephesians

Frank Thielman's new commentary on Ephesians in the BECNT series just arrived on my desk, and I'm very excited about it. I've greatly appreciated his scholarship and his take on Paul. I was first introduced to him through his excellent commentary on Philippians in the NIVAC series, and subsequently have read his two books on the Law, Paul and the Law and The Law and the New Testament. I've only begun to skim this commentary, but I was immediately struck by the closing lines of the Author's Preface:

My prayer is that the commentary would quickly get out of the way after bringing the reader to the text, and that the text would, in its turn, help the reader understand the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ.

That beautifully wrought sentiment is certainly my own prayer for all of my studies of the Bible and of theology (even if it is too often unrealized), and it is encouraging to see it so well articulated at the outset of a commentary. I look forward to jumping in.