BoSacks: The Profit Prophet: Time to Go Hunting
This month I am going hunting. My intended prey are several publishing myths that seem to predominate the psyche of old media. The first myth we need to ponder is the idea that truth can only be found on dead trees, and that once words of any kind are written into an electronic format, they instantly lose their validity and are forever more unreliable. I call those who adhere to this mythology “substrate purists.”
These purists will tell you that only paper-based products have fact-checkers and proofreaders. Those would be the same fact-checkers who declared on the front page of newspapers that Dewey beat Truman, or the same copy editors who declared that a “BatBoy was found in caves underground.” No, my friends, the truth is substrate-indifferent. But if you are in doubt about a digital story in this day and age, you can do an instant electronic verification of any data or information contained in the story. On the other hand, no matter how hard you press or click on a 36-pound sheet of lightweight coated paper, you aren’t going to get anything extra but a hole in the substrate.
The second myth is of comfort and delight. Here, the druids of fiber perfection will swear that there cannot and will not be a comfortable way to lounge with an electronic reader. They say that if you are not reading on paper, there is no way to reach the true nirvana of the pleasurable reading experience. This is, of course, an absurd line of logic, and I am sure it is one that the scroll makers of yesteryear professed as well when the linear book came into fashion. Fashions come and fashions go, but functionality is the main and true decider of comfort and the eventual ubiquity of any device.