My sons and I keep threatening to do a Kindle commercial where a guy is left tied up by kidnappers, or CIA agents, in a room where there is a kindle on the desk. He hops his chair over, uses a pencil in his teeth to operate the keyboard, and the next thing you see is the door closing, a pile of ropes on the chair, and the cover of an eBook titled " - How to Escape From Anything" on the Kindle.
When it comes to information, storytelling, and publishing, it's a very new world from that of only a few years back. Arguments about whether electronic formats will ever "make it" have been replaced with discussions of how far can it go, and how can I get on board before this train leaves the station. Half the time it seems that the entire train gets re-routed mid trip and you end up somewhere completely unexpected - and ultimately cool.
As a writer, it's no longer good enough just to tell stories. You have to pay attention, because the audience is shifting, and so are the venues they choose for entertainment delivery. We jumped from document files to pdf files to eBook files, to files you can read fully formatted on your phone in a matter of a couple of years. You can personalize and adjust your reading experience in endless ways, have it delivered to you in the middle of a busy city street while you wait, and follow links to more books, or to places you can provide your input and feedback, without taking a step.
Books used to come and go. There was a pretty set time you could expect them to remain available, and then, if you wanted to find them you had to slog through piles and piles of used volumes, search libraries, and in only slightly antiquated times, crawl eBay until you found a copy.
That's how my own love affair with digital publishing began. I wanted to bring back the books that came and went and give them new readers and new life. I wanted to find those books people always bring up wistfully in comments like, "you remember that one book by so-and-so back in the seventies? Wish I could read that again - it changed my life."
At Crossroad Press I've been privileged to help a number of readers with quests like that, and a number of authors whose words languished in forgotten bins and on dusty shelves, and that makes me happy. I've also found a wealth of books that never made it to audio format, and I've been able to bring a number of those to life, as well. See, now Tolkein's words can be applied to other words … they have been there, and back again. And there's no end to how far they can go in this wild, crazy digital world surrounding us. I'm happy to be seeing a small mountain of them on their way.