Here at St. Anthony Messenger Press, we have wide range of media available: e-books, audiobooks, books, video, newsletters, magazine, website, blogs and other forms of social media. We’re constantly searching for new ways to reach our audience.
A couple of weeks ago I attended the O’Reilly Tools of Change in Publishing Conference in New York City. As our company’s digital editor, I loved being immersed in the exciting new electronic forms of making words and pictures available. I relished being so near the cutting edge of digital publishing.
Even before I left home, I marveled that for the first time when traveling, I didn’t have to pack any actual books for the trip. Everything I might want to read was on my iPad. Even my knitting patterns were stored as PDF files.
Then the plane got ready for takeoff and all electronic devices had to be shut down. “If it has an on/off button, turn it off,” they now say to eliminate any confusion. I fidgeted. I looked out the window. I read the inflight magazine. I wished I had packed just one book. We finally reached cruising altitude and I was connected again. Whew!
While I was in New York, I bought a board book for my nine-month-old great-niece and a hardcover picture book for my great-nephew, who turns four in May. At the conference I got signed copies of two Margaret Atwood novels (hard to sign an e-book. I wonder if there’s an app for that!). But I also knew that I could access YouTube versions of most of the keynote sessions to share with people back in the office. And I added several new books to my Kindle app.
Since I’ve gotten home, I’ve continued to reflect on the mix of real and virtual in my life, cyberspace and solid ground, paper and pixels. In the event of a solar flare, I think I would still have enough reading material for several years.
I love the experience of reading. E-books, paperbacks, and limited-edition illustrated hardcovers are all simply different ways for that experience to take place. The following video trailer from MacMillan for one of their children’s books captures well what each medium can do, and why we love them both: