The other night I spoke at an event on Digital Publishing Skills organised by the Society of Young Publishers, on a panel with Nicholas Blake (Editorial Manager, Picador and Digital), and Ros Kindersley (Managing Director, JFL Search & Selection). Knowing nothing about career opportunities in digital publishing, I instead talked about how the Sony Reader seems to win over the booklovers on contact, how useless it is for the kind of networked book that excite us at if:book london and usa, and how I'm not convinced that commercial publishing companies will prove the best people to curate these new kinds of cultural assemblages. The event was blogged about generously by one member of the audience, but I don't remember being quite as ferocious about the trade as she suggests. Afterwards a queue of young publishers formed to sample my eReader.
Actually I'm discovering the Sony's flaws: too easy to lose your place, involves clicking through too many menus to find the page again, no chance to make notes or network with other readers - and I do wish it lit up for night reading. Luckily I can use my iTouch and Stanza app. in bed. Meanwhile Anna has declared her love of Vronsky to her husband, Kitty has befriended Varenka and I'm on page 587 of 2134 of digi-Karenin, which is an experience happening to me, not a possession to peruse and put on a shelf.
The future of publishing belongs to those who can think clearly enough about what really matters about books beyond their binding, and so can think afresh about what the 'look and feel' of real future books should be.