Aaron Gilbreath’s op/ed piece in today’s Chicago Tribune urges publishers of traditional books to fight the tidal wave of e-Reader marketing with their own clever campaigns. He argues for a well thought out marketing strategy in media that targets the general public as opposed to those that are already preaching to the choir (e.g., NY Times Review of Book, New Yorker, and other literary magazines). He suggests traditional publishers take a cue from the National Pork Producers Council who countered the perception of pork as unhealthy with their “pork, the other white meat” campaign. Gilbreath wraps up his pitch with a list of the advantages of paper vs. digital ending with how environmentally unsound e-Readers are in the long run.
John Keilman, Chicago Tribune reporter, defends the printed book against the Kindle in this article from today’s edition. Using Gary Shteyngart’s sad sack of a protagonist, Lenny Abramov, from his novel Super Sad True Love Story as an example of someone hopelessly out of date because he still reads “bound, printed, nonstreaming media artifacts,” Keilman begins his argument in favor of traditional books. Simply stated, he thinks a printed text reader’s ability to navigate between the covers of a book with relative ease using physical bookmarks, dog-eared pages (horrors! a librarian exclaims), and a sense of where in the text a particular passage occurred (i.e., halfway through, near the end, etc.) are all tools that make reading books of high literary or academic content much easier than the all button pushing needed to navigate with an e-reader. Keilman acknowledges the plus side of e-readers for pleasure reading or what is called “receptive reading”–going from start to finish in a straight line, but for “responsive reading”–using the text more deeply to build and store knowledge, the printed book is the sure winner in his mind.
For the real geeks out there, please feel free to read this whole article on new trends in consumer gadgets and computer devices. Companies are also releasing short videos hinting at their new products which may be unveiled at the convention this week. Motorola‘s was cute- a short, tongue-in-cheek history of the tablet. (There are a couple of others referred to in the 2nd article.)
An analysis of book buying behavior indicates that 20% of consumers are interested in buying e-readers compared to only 10% last year. This article offers many facts about the public’s attitudes toward digital reading and a few graphs to demonstrate the changes. It also mentions the impact on print books.
E-books and e-readers generate much attention these days, but according to a study by OnCampus Research Watch, most college students are buying printed books. Less than 10% of the students surveyed (627) bought e-readers voluntarily and most did not plan on purchasing the devices anytime soon.