Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Ponderer's Digital Potpourri

This year's Digital Book World Conference and Expo may have come and gone, but for those of us whose sole window to that world lay in the pithy Tweets of Lerner VP Terri Soutor, much of its wisdom still remains to be discovered. This week, while compiling the legendary Adriano Fruzzetti Memorial Web Links (don't worry, he's still with us--just too important, remember?), I came across this article* [thedigitalshift, via School Library Journal], and it set me a-thinking. 

Mostly about tablets. Tablets versus eReaders...tablets and eReaders versus print books**...tablets and eReaders AND print books versus the reading (or non-reading) world...

All false binaries. (Or trinaries? Or...?) All leading me, nonetheless, to the latest inside scoop about the ways that the publishing world and the digital world are becoming ever more enmeshed. Here's what I found out.

We use the internet a lot [readwrite, with pretty colors]. Thus...
Folks are spending more than ever on digital content for their tablets [Digital Book World]. Thus...
Publishers are spending more on tablet (and eReader) marketing [Digital Book World again]. And yet...

[Karen Lotz, CEO of Candlewick Press] offered a telling explanation for why many publishers have proceeded with caution during the industry’s transition toward ebooks. "We were really hesitant to enter into that market when it was simply taking a beautiful physical object, scanning it, and then presenting it in a very inadequate way," she said...."We decided...'We're going to wait until these devices could do justice to these materials.’ In a way, our story is just beginning because of tablets.” [bringing it full circle with that same digitalshift piece*]

In other words, sooner or later, one way or another, everybody wakes up and smells the digital potpourri. Not because it means abandoning the printed page, not because digital publishing is an easy bandwagon to stay on top of, and certainly not because there are no kinks left to work out--but because, ultimately, it offers opportunities to create quality books and engage readers. 

That's why, at Lerner, digital publishing--with all its complexities, imperfections, and unanswered questions--isn't just a random weekly blog post. It's an integral part of the mission. And, to quote Ms. Lotz, our story is just beginning. 

P.S. More web links!
Another explanation for the drop in eReader sales (compared to tablet sales): Old folks buy them. And old folks also die. [teleread]
The fabled 128GB iPad is happening. [arstechnica]
**Articulate people astutely address that good ol' false binary. [pbs media shift] 



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