Cindy Peng at Publishing Trends asks what the iPad can do for “paginated media.” (That’s an interesting thing to call books and magazines, I guess.) She quotes an analyst from a “mediaIDEAS webinar” who points out critical flaws in the iPad’s design, but nonetheless calls the device a “call to action” that could represent “the key to the future of publishing.”

In a separate article, Peng also remarks on how much more popular print-on-demand has become in recent years—it’s overtaken traditional publishing in terms of the number of titles available. Perhaps part of this can be linked to the rise in self-publishing services, but she also mentions some other on-demand services responsible for the rise.

One of these is a children’s book publisher, Penwizard, which produces personalized print-on-demand children’s books. That brought up the recollection of a book my parents got me once when I was a small child, that I haven’t seen in years. It was a Disney Jungle Book tie-in, in which “I” was a character—it never showed “my” face, but it was personalized with my name. It was a silly little thing, but I loved it at the time.

I thought the font it was printed in was funny at the time—rather more rough than most book printing—but looking back on it with the experience of age I now realize that the text was actually printed on a mainframe line printer, onto pre-made illustrated pages. How far print-on-demand technology has come since then!

alexis” at has some thoughts on whether print books might have a continued life as physical artifacts once e-books become predominant. She makes some of the same appeals to physical experience as some of the print-book snobs, but unlike them does not use those as a basis from which to claim e-books will “never” catch on.

Rather, she thinks they might become an indicator of class and affluence (this would certainly give new meaning to the term “print-book snobs”!) but might also be appreciated as objects d’art.

I think that books that we deem “important” or “beautiful” will still tend to be consumed (and shared, and displayed) as physical artifacts, whereas the rest of our literary pursuits will be relegated to the more functional and lesser status as electronic media.


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