8th Annual PrintMedia Expo Explores the Workflow of the Future
On the first day of the conference, attendees gathered before lunch in the expansive Sutton Parlor to hear Schroeder address "The Future of Publishing." "We've survived," said Schroeder of the dot-com era and the promised demise of print media, as well as the increasingly hectic pace of today's culture.
But the rest of her speech focused on the challenges still ahead. "The bottom line is we are still trying to sell a print medium to a country where, if you aren't born with Attention Deficit Disorder, we'll teach it to you …" Schroeder urged attendees to act as advocates for the print medium in any way they can.
Merriam-Webster's John Morse kick-started day two of the conference with his keynote address, "Cross-Media Publishing: Achieving the Promise." Morse talked about our "data-centric culture," its inclination to rely on multiple mediums to obtain that data, and its significance to the entire print industry. "When we started planning the 11th edition [of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary], we asked ourselves, 'What is the dictionary of the future going to look like, and can we start creating it right now?' The answer we came up with is that the dictionary of the future is not a thing, not a particular technology, not a particular medium … The dictionary of the future is access," said Morse.
For this reason, Merriam-Webster, whose dictionary, Morse says, is the second best-selling hardcover book in American publishing next to the Bible, now publishes in five formats: book, CD-ROM, Web, downloads for PDAs and as dedicated, hand-held devices.
"We are convinced that people don't just want … print. They don't just want Web access either." Rather, Morse's message portrayed the contemporary public's desire for immediate access in whichever format is most convenient at the moment: a hand-held device on the train, the Web at the office, and the print dictionary at home, for example.