Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Conference Update: Nancy Feresten of National Geographic

From 2008 to 2009, the sale of eBooks rose 176 per cent. Revenue from them was only 1 percent of the market, but projected to be one-third of the market by 2013.

Nancy Feresten of National Geographic shared those statistics at the SCBWI Houston conference and scared me to death.

eBooks replacing print books? Please say it ain’t so!

Okay, I’ll admit it. I love books. I love the smell and feel of them, the sturdy, comforting bulk of them. I love to thumb through them or sink down into them and lose myself in a magnificent journey.

As an old time book lover, I can’t imagine giving up my precious books for a machine. No, no, and I repeat, no!

But then I listened to Nancy’s vision for the future of publishing and I can breathe normally again. She explained the endless possibilities so well that I can only give a brief recap. I was too enthralled to take notes.

Readers will always want stories, facts, photos, and fun. Print books will continue to instruct, inspire, and open new worlds for readers. After all, print books are portable, collectible, durable, and inexpensive.

But in the not-so-distant future, there will also be a whole array of eBooks that readers can download onto e-readers with multimedia options like moving pictures and sound. Digital books can be any length, they take up little or no space, they have adjustable text sizes, and they are searchable. Students will be able to carry all of their textbooks on one reader. Teachers will be able to customize materials for their students. Researchers will have access to all kinds of information that simply wasn’t available in the average library.

So, rather than fear the future of publishing, I’ve decided to embrace it. Thanks, Nancy.

1 comment:

  1. Nancy's discussion of the possibilities for e-books was indeed thrilling. I too, will never give up the paper version. Even as I sit here at my desk, I have a dozen books scattered around me. All I have to do is look at them and their covers send me inspiration. But I gotta admit, Nancy spun a pretty enticing vision for the future of e-books.