The Digital World Meets the Printed Page

One of the most interesting explorations has been how the world of digital materials, such as ebooks, interfaces with the more traditional world of printed books.

One of the more challenging issues is that you really can’t easily promote or “sign” an ebook at a book store. Most book stores do not sell discrete ebooks or single author books. They tend to sell gift cards with access to an elibrary, such as for Nook.

Another challenge is convincing the travel industry that offering free or very inexpensive ebooks to favored passengers to download and read on the plane from their devices is outside of their marketing mindset boxes. Yet we do know that young readers are comfortable with device-reading. And we know that travelers increasingly want to know about their destinations beyond the short promo articles in the airline mags.

See this link as a typical opportunity for really cheap ($3) download novelette about Hawaii — obviously a major destination.

No, I don’t expect anyone to buy it, but it is really cheap. The point, however, is that the cost of printed books, especially for college, is outrageous. Books alone now cost as much or more than it cost me for an entire semester at a private university in the 60s.

I realize these are fighting words for those who a devoted to keeping the printed page alive. Most of us do want to touch, feel, hold the books we read. Yet cheap printers allow us to download and print out an ebook if we like. Literacy is as much about affordability and access as it is about content.

The visitor industry, and many businesspeople, might find offering clients access to selected ebooks as a perk. And, by promoting easy to access ebooks, you can also be promoting local authors. This is a way to encouraging the written arts — from poetry, to screenplays, to educational material, to children’s books.

Like what you read? Give Jim Shon a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.