Maybe it’s because I just finished my first stab at electronic publishing, but I went into my Sunday panel at ConText 23 (Aug. 29) with the idea it would be a sort of DIY subject. Well, it wasn’t. It turned out to be more about the electronic readers themselves and a discussion on the future of e-publishing. Interesting, and definitely a fitting subject for a science fiction-heavy convention, but I had to do a massive gear shift once the talk began.
It’s been over a week now, but I’m still thinking about this discussion. Seems like everyone else is, too. Every place I go, people are talking about what e-reader they want and what e-books they’ve downloaded. It’s been kind of amazing, really. It used to be that only my most avowedly geeky friends (Yes, Grant and Joe, I mean YOU. lol) were reading actual books on the computer screen. Now, even the people who used to tell me they always printed out a manuscript hard copy for edits because they couldn’t stand reading off the screen are reading e-books.
Fad of the Moment or the shape of things to come? Probably a bit of both. Will the e-book be the doom of paper books? I seriously doubt it. I can’t see e-books sending paper books the way of the Sauropods any time soon, really. I’m probably speaking from a position of prejudice because I love books. My house is filled with books of all sorts and all ages. There’s just something wonderful about the feel of a book — especially a hardback book. Don’t get me wrong, I’m also a dyed-in-the-circuits geek, so I also appreciate the electronic form and the portability of the new readers. I get most of my news electronically, even my archaeological updates. How’s that for anachronistic?
Still, I think there will be room for both for a long time to come. The book didn’t supplant the scroll immediately, after all. Hey! This is a great excuse to link to one of my favorite tech support spoofs! Medieval Tech Support. BWAHAHAHAHAHAAA!
Last Saturday at ContText 23, I participated in a panel discussion called: Blogging — Creativity and Publicity. My fellow panelists were Joe Martino, Michelle Pendergrass, Maurice Broaddus, Tilly Greene with Jason Sanford moderating.
This was a pretty diverse group and, no surprise, opinions on what blogging was about were also diverse. On the whole, the panel agreed on the basic point that a blog, by its very nature, is a sort of soapbox where the writer voices his/her opinion on life, the universe and whatever topic trickles across the mind at a given moment. Where opinion differed the most was whether a blog is a dialog or a monologue.
Several of the members had only recently turned on comments. I have to say, this surprised me since I tend to look at blogs as conversations. Most blogs seem to be a give and take between the poster and the commenters, but I can see where the folks who don’t allow comment are coming from. Sometimes you just want to get something out there and be done with it. It gets annoying when you think you’re done with a discussion and someone pops up and starts the hooha all over again.
I have a way to go before I have to worry about any of that on this blog. Have to wait for the new to wear off and maybe for a few folks to find something that strikes their fancy enough to comment.