Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Quality not Quantity

Since we seem to support this idea here at SotB - it's not about posting constantly or even consistently, but rather it's about posting important and relevant material, ya see? - I thought I would pull a quote I read recently and post it here. It's a quote that speaks to our deepest concerns in this ever-shifting publishing and reading landscape.

From Don Linn at Bait 'n' Beer:
We are, at bottom, a creative business. We are fighting for share of mind against hundreds of alternatives and if we do not put our best foot forward with regard to the titles we acquire, the care we give to the editorial process, and to the production quality of both our print and digital books, we won't (and don't deserve to) survive and prosper. When I see a poorly conceived, apparently unedited or copy-edited, badly designed book, that is produced (whether in hardcover, paperback or in a digital edition) in what is obviously the cheapest possible way, I fear for our future. Resources are limited, but if we can't produce consistent quality, then let's reduce quantities until we can. Nobody wants to buy a bad product.
For serious.

I also want to point out two recent comments I've heard regarding e-books and e-readers. First, someone told me that he travels a lot for work and relies on the iBooks app on his ipad to read digital books. But he has started buying "hard copies," as he said, as well, because often the plane pulls out from the gate but then taxis, and while everyone with "hard copies" is reading away, he can't read his e-book because passengers have been told to turn off mobile devices. Second, a coworker (though someone not in publishing) admitted that she followed my advice and read Jennifer Egan's fantastic book, the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad - but on her Kindle. Well there is a whole chapter done in Powerpoint, and it's a surprisingly touching and sweet chapter, and it simply did not work on the Kindle. This person feebly claimed, "I got the gist," but she clearly didn't. Such a shame. A whole chapter lost? That is just the kind of "bad product" Linn references above.

If this makes us seem like an irritating thorn poking into the side of the e-book world and nothing more, so be it. We are bloggers, after all. What else is the point??