Tuesday, December 15, 2015

4,000 eBooks and Counting!

When I was a freshman in college, my grandfather gave me his beautiful beast of a car...a 1983 Buick seemingly as wide as it was long. It had soft velour seats a few hues darker than the lavender exterior. It was a boxy purple sedan that needed constant gas pump attention (via the flip down license plate) but could seat about 20 (nod to the B-52s). I loved it.

In the umpteen years he owned the car, my grandfather had put 87,000 miles on it. Within my first year, I was nearing the 100,000 mile mark. And my eyes were glued to that odometer. I kept a camera in the glovebox for the occasion. You have to remember this was before we carried cameras on our person every day. And you have to remember this was back when odometers only had 5 digits.

And then it happened. 00000. The rollover. I stopped in the middle of the road (a benefit of spending the summer in rural Minnesota) and snapped the photo. I was over-the-moon happy that I captured it and looking back I realize it was a unique moment. In all the cars I’ve piled the miles onto since I was 18, I never captured that moment again as much as I’ve anticipated it.

I don’t just mean capturing the image with my camera but capturing that moment in time. I had the opportunity to pause and recognize what I had just witnessed, to think about the last 13,000 miles, to think about my grandfather. The last time the odometer read 00000 was when he bought it. And soon after I put the car back in gear, the odometer turned over 00001 and moved on.

And now as I’m in the middle of the hustle and bustle of distributing our Spring 2016 eBooks, I find myself again looking at the odometer.

For the past year, I’ve felt like a broken record saying that we have “nearly 4,000” eBooks. This is my go-to answer when asked about our impressive collection. When I say “nearly 4,000” to a potential customer, I almost always hear a “wow” in response. Even before learning about the amazing quality of our content, the sheer quantity amazes. Nearly 4,000 eBooks is a lot of eBooks.

I’ve been waiting for the day when I can do away with “nearly” and proudly say we have a solid 4,000…and now the day is here! With the addition of Spring 2016 titles, we have hit the 4,000 mark. I think it is a good time to pause and capture the moment. Let’s stop in the middle of the road and recognize what we’re witnessing.

This may be easier to visualize if we were talking about 4,000 physical books. Laid end-to-end, we’d have books laid out the length of 10 football fields. Stacked, we’d have a pile of books taller than the Statue of Liberty. And good luck shipping the full collection as it weighs as much as a Fiat or an entire class of 4th graders, your choice.

But since we’re talking eBooks, I have the entire collection on my iPad and carry all 4,000 eBooks with me everywhere. That’s nearly 20 million words wrapped up in 4,000 perfect packages all available at my fingertips.

This is the moment I want to capture and share with all of you. We just witnessed the odometer roll over to 4000. And in true publishing fashion, we cannot stay in park for long. The moment is quickly passing as we move on to the next milestone. I just learned that our total number of eBooks will be 4,100 as of January, so I better get used to saying “over 4,000” until that too changes. Thank you for taking a moment to celebrate the 4,000 mark with me!

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