EWBC 2010 Keynotes – Evan Schnittman on Digital Publishing

–This is part of an ongoing series about the European Wine Bloggers’ Conference

Evan Schnittman spoke to us at the EWBC, sharing a really deep knowledge of the contemporary publishing scene.  I think he gave a really good, succint history of digital publishing and highlighted some of the bigger differences between digital publishing and conventionally printed books.

For now, let’s talk about some of my personal highlights.

The iPod moment

Schnittman suggests that the Amazon Kindle was a revolutionary moment for ebooks and self publishing.  For once, the hardware was awesome and competitive with books for long reading sessions.  For once, the selection of what you could read was massive and mainstream enough to make the e-reader competitive with books.  He compares it to the iPod which was a piece of hardware that offered a large selection of mp3s at the iTunes store.

And Evan didn’t mention it, but the Kindle and iPod both made it easy to enjoy pirated content.  Any stolen mp3 could be played on an iPod.  Any document can be converted to a txt and added to a Kindle.  We also talked a bit about the development of “the cloud” and how important that was to making an approachable and usable ebook reader.

To Print or Not to Print?

Schnittman made an interesting distinction between different types of text.  He explained the differences between books that you read front to back and reference books where you consult an index and then go to a very specific part to just read one entry (e.g. dictionaries, directories).

Then, within those groups, there were a few more interesting distinctions.  For example, some printed editions of directories will be replaced entirely by digital versions while others will benefit in increased sales thanks to their digitalization.  He specifically mentioned the Princeton Reveiw’s Complete Book of Colleges and the OED.

When the Princeton Review’s college directory was first put online, publishers worried that it would hurt sales.  Why would anybody buy the book when it was totally searchable online?  Well, the reputation of the book grew thanks to its online incarnation and sales of the printed version increased consistently over time!  Other books like the Oxford English Dictionary are so cumbersome that it really makes a lot more sense for them to be digitized and they will probably go entirely digital.

Self-publishing

Another key part of Schnittman’s talk was about the possibility of self-publishing.  And this is probably the part that affects O’Vineyards the most.  Almost nothing can stop individuals like me from self-publishing now.  Amazon’s new self-publishing model that allows you to sell infinite ebooks and even real world books made out of paper and everything.  They’re printed on demand and they look and feel just like books at the library.  Pretty snazzy world we live in.

I feel like I’m not doing Schnittman justice but you’ll see the videos when they’re all posted.  And in the time being, you can check out the huge number of articles on Schnittman’s blog which is full of insight about the brave new publishing world we live in.

How to find us

Domaine O’Vineyards, located in the North Arrondissement of Carcassonne, is just minutes from the Carcassonne train station, the Medieval City, and the Carcassonne Airport.
GPS coordinates: 43.259622, 2.340387

O’Vineyards
Wine, Dine, Relax at our Boutique Vineyard
Unique thing to do in Carcassonne
Wine Cellar. Winery Visits. Wine Tasting.
Wine & Food Pairing

North Arrondissement of Carcassonne
885 Avenue de la Montagne Noire
11620 Villemoustaussou, France
Tel: +33(0) 630 189 910

  1. Best by GPS.
    Follow the signs to Mazamet/ Villemoustaussou using the D118. At the end of the last straight part of D118, you will come to a roundabout with the Dyneff gas station.
  2. Take the exit towards Pennautier. Continue 500m to a small roundabout and go straight over.
  3. Look out for the second road on your right, Avenue des Cévennes which curves up hill (about 1km) to Avenue de la Montagne Noire on the left.
  4. At the last juction, bear left. the road sign “Ave de la Montagne Noire” (confusing as it seems to show a right turn)
  5. After another 500m you will see our red brick color building in the middle of the vines.
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