by Jon Simpson
Print is dead… or dying. So they say. The eBook revolution is upon us, but what does it mean? For many of us with our noses deep in our books, the arrival of eReaders and tablets, and the rapid growth of eReading, can be startling. Some folks are wary and others disinterested, while some have embraced the changes wholeheartedly. I suspect there are quite a few hanging back, waiting to see how things pan out.
But while the times are a-changin', many of us still love and rely on our longtime friend, the printed book. My daughter, completely at ease in the digital world of multitasking her life—instant messaging while blogging, checking Facebook, doing her homework, and listening to music all at once—doesn't prefer eBooks. That's fine by me, and here's a secret: "Either-or" is a false choice. There is no right or wrong about it. Long live print, and welcome, eBooks! It's not a political issue, but it is change.
So what's the story?
What is this change to our books that's being foisted upon all of us? Well, it's about the "story" itself. It always has been. We still want and need information, and the advent of the digital format simply means there are more ways we can get the content we want. The good thing is, now that eBooks are gaining traction, a lot of serious work is going into making better eBooks. People are paying closer attention to formats and standards, and are working very hard to make the reading experience a good one on all devices.
As a publisher, we've had to learn the ins and outs of all the new digital formats, and find the best ways to present the important content readers want and need. We've learned a lot, and are proud of the way the content shows up on devices today.
Why read an eBook?
The reason I read eBooks is the convenience of having so many good books that I can easily carry around virtually anywhere. I never was very good about finishing one book before I started reading another. Today, I'm still the same way, my attention divided among multiple books, except that I've learned to embrace my à la carte style of reading. With eBooks, it's easy to indulge my reading habits. I can carry them around all together on a device, rather than having to choose what to read before I go out the door. I also appreciate the ability to switch between a reading device and my mobile phone, picking up where I left off.
It's true, the gizmos are flashy and the technology is cool. We do love us some "shiny." But, when it comes down to it, it's what's inside that counts. A good book pulls you in, whether it's paper or digital. So if you're thinking of giving eReading a whirl, I'll tell you something, it's as absorbing as print. Because it's on a cool tablet or a phone? No, because of what you're reading. it's because you've got the books you want to read right at hand, and the ability to easily download another one when you want it. If you like to read, believe me, you can get used to that.
Editor's Note: Jon Simpson is the Digital Publishing Manager for all Quayside Publishing Company imprints.