Paper Version and Thumbs

When I received the email, I had to tell my Corgi, first thing. “Carl. Look at this!”

“I’m rather busy.” With an eraser clamped in his jaws, he nudged at a pencil that rolled across the desk.

“You’re playing.”

“Shows how much you know about the creative process. This is how the great advertizing minds develop ideas. You do want me to sell a million copies of your book, The Five Manes, don’t you?”

“Which book?”

“You know, the first book of The Horseteration Chronicles.” The pencil scooted off the desk’s edge, landing in the wastepaper basket. “Two points!”

“Carl, the book is called, The Five Names and there are no horses in the entire story.”

“All dog characters then?”

“Carl, you read the book. You know there are no dogs.”

He adopted a far-away look, as if trying to recall. Then his usual smile returned. “Now I remember: The Lomen, Inkie and Korko and Mironica. The wise animals: Gustov and Rathbone and Emmas, just to mention a few. And who could forget the villain, Mox a Pox.”

“Yes, who could forget?”

“Do you have news about them?”

I showed him the email.

“It says that they’ve snail-mailed the proof copy. We have to check it over and give final approval. Does that mean the Kindle is on the way out? I always liked Kindle, he’s a dog atop the canine heap, so to speak.”

I ignored Carl’s apparent joke attempt. “People will still be able to get the electron version but they will have another alternative—a genuine, touch-the-paper book.”

“I see.” Carl nodded before adding, “Generally, dogs make poor typesetters. Surprisingly, that includes Irish setters.”

A chuckle shook me. “Okay, I’ll play along. Why do dogs make poor typesetters?”

“It’s the old thumb issue. While dogs are at the peak of creation, we don’t have opposable thumbs.”

“These days, machines are so advanced that they don’t need humans, or dogs, to set the type.”

Carl seemed to ignore my attempts to launch into a lesson about POD (print on demand) technology.

“I’ve just had a vision about thumbs and about marketing your book. What a stupendous idea!” Carl’s eyes sparkled with fire.

“Well, are you going to tell me?”

“Not yet.”

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