Saturday, May 21, 2011

Getting With the 21st Century

economysepOverall, I’m feeling pretty smug that I’m adapting to the changing publishing environment.

I have a Kindle. I’m not at all opposed to putting backlist items out as ebooks (I’ve even got a book in mind for it). I edit my manuscript on my Kindle when I’m on the go. I feel fairly progressive.

But when the Charlotte Observer called me up last week and offered to give me a special price to make the move to an electronic edition of the newspaper, I was practically speechless.

“It’s an exact reproduction,” the sales representative said soothingly. “Even the ads. It’s a PDF.'”

“Uhhhh…” I said.

“When you go out of town, you can still read the Charlotte Observer. You can read it anywhere in the world!”

“Ummm….” I said.

“It’s interactive, too. And you can search the archive, make the font size bigger, and you can access it 24/7! And it’s a lot less expensive than the print edition.”

It all made a lot of sense…I just couldn’t do it. But first of all, I asked if I had to do it—was the print edition going under in the immediate future? Because I’d rather read an e-edition of the newspaper than lose my local paper altogether.

It wasn’t to the point of the print edition disappearing, thankfully. There’s still something very nice about unfolding a newspaper and sipping my coffee while catching up on the news.

But I’m 40---and the representative, laughing a little, said that was the gray area. She said that everyone over 40 was very indignant at the thought of losing the physical, newsprint paper….that everyone under 40 was excited to get the same paper, as an e-edition, for a much lower price than the printed edition.

This is interesting to me, because I think a lot of Kindle users are middle aged and up. But maybe there’s a difference between getting a book on a reader and receiving a newspaper that way. I know there’s a difference for me. And I’m not sure I want to interact with my newspaper, anyway.

Are there some areas where you’re just not wanting to make the switch yet? Or are you fully onboard with the ebook revolution?