Social Media Week

I’ve long ignored this blog, partly because I worry from time to time that I chose not to make it anonymous. It sure limits what you can say sometimes! But anyway I though the turning of the year called for some kind of update.

I went into Toronto on Thursday for a book publishing panel for Social Media Week. I’m not sure what I expected, but I think something with more discussion from the audience. Which, of course, is not the fault of the panel but of the audience. It didn’t help that I was late. I wrote the time down as 2:00 for no good reason, so although I was there almost on time, I was wandering Queen St. killing time until it “started.” Three fabulous and knowledgeable women on the panel answered questions put to them by a moderator who mentioned his own writing WAY too many times. I had no idea who he was (maybe I should have), but he sure did.

I’m perhaps not being fair to him, but he did seem to monopolize a lot of the conversation and I would have liked to have heard more from other players in the room. He ignored one person repeatedly who had his hand up. Ultimately he left.  The panel had great ideas for promoting fiction on social media, and I’d love to think more about some of them. I hope there’s a recap somewhere. I really wanted to get into the idea of different kinds of publishing, coming from the academic side, but it was all trade fiction. Another session, another day, I suppose. Something for Book Camp. But who would come? I’m all alone…

The only comment I did make was about YA reading, which is booming right now, although I don’t know if it ever stopped. We just know more about everyone’s habits these days, I think.  I know something about this, so although I didn’t want to sound negative about e-books, because I really like the possibilities they hold, it’s been my experience that kids read in every format: online, on their phones, iPod Touch, etc., but that they are still very much invested in books, getting those books signed, carrying them around in their backpacks, swapping them back and forth, etc. I’m not so sure that will go away any time soon or that we should even be promoting e-books to kids except to enhance their reading. Something to ponder. A paper book doesn’t vibrate when your best friend is trying to get hold of you or pop up that you have a new message on MSN. I’ve known my daughters to go into their rooms with books and not emerge for hours. They don’t hear my call them for dinner or anything. That kind of focus I don’t think could be sustained using a multi-purpose reader. I’m not sure what to think about that.

Julie (Book Madam) observed that she reads mostly non-fiction on the Kindle. Deanna says she doesn’t take her Sony Reader to bed but reads in on her commute. I am different. I first downloaded a couple of non-fiction titles on the Kindle, but found I wasn’t interested enough to explore them. Then I downloaded a novel I wanted to read and I did take it to bed, just like a book. The non-fiction remains unread. My intern, however, who is a technology, SEO guy we were able to hire with a BPIDP grant, was thrilled with the features the Kindle offered him for snipping and exporting. I’m not sure I would ever use them.

Of course the big news this week is the iPad, and I do believe it will revolutionalize e-reading. It’s bigger than both the Kindle and Sony reader but just a bit, and it runs all the Apple aps that have become so popular on the iPhone. Nobody has really talked about the back-lit screen being a downfall. I like the e-ink for ease on my eyes, but seriously, I spend so much time on my computer anyway, I’m not sure it’s worth the fuss. And the opportunities for enhanced books (and this is where I see kids’ non-fiction really benefitting) are really great.

So those are my thoughts for this Saturday morning. Now back to editing a book about youth and technology!

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