In addition, Cull says his company is trying new things to keep pace with society and the tech world’s latest trends. “At our last anniversary party, we tried something new: We only advertised the event on Twitter and Facebook to save paper [since we use enough of it as is] and see how many people would show up,” he says. The party was a success, and they had an overwhelming turnout from producing just electronic advertisements and posts. Given such happy results across the board, Cull feels that others in the publishing world have also started to welcome tech-related changes in growing numbers, rather than trying to fight or ignore them.
Similarly, many authors say—even though they themselves personally prefer books in printed versions and want readers to support local bookstores—that they are not opposed to the idea of people reading their work or a digitized book on an eReader.
At Wordstock 2009, we interviewed a number of authors who all confessed that they’d prefer readers to pick up a hard copy of their book at a “local indie” bookstore. Some authors, such as Debra Gwartney—author of the memoir Live Through This—say it does not matter how readers acquire a book though, whether through a Kindle or a local bookstore, as long as they have some sort of access to it. Even writers like former NBA star Chris Dudley (who attended Wordstock to promote his inspirational children’s book Chris Dreams Big) that aren’t huge eBook fans are keeping an open mind. Dudley describes himself as “old-school” and says that he prefers for children to read his book in its traditional print and illustrated form rather than a digital version. However, he’s also willing to admit that he thinks eReaders are convenient for kids, like his two oldest children who are avid readers, because it consolidates many books onto one slim device.
In terms of booksellers, leading retailer Barnes & Noble recently took the “if you can’t beat them, join them” stance to a literal level by actually assembling its own digital library and eReader, the Nook. What sets the Nook apart from others in its category, though? Doug Gottlieb, Barnes & Noble’ Vice President of Digital Devices, says the device is special in this market because it’s made by passionate book people for passionate readers. The Nook is all about the reading experience, he claims. Barnes & Noble, with its in-store café, book-wiz workers and comfortable reading corners, tries to be more of a community center than just a bookstore. Gottlieb says he wants people spending hours socializing, reading, studying and essentially loitering around Barnes & Noble—that’s why it was established—and a device like the Nook simply compliments that goal.