Letters to the Editor: Digital Misdirection?
Dear Mr. Brenneman:
Regarding the following [in the May/June Digital Directions column, “Want to Grow Your Ebook Revenue?”]:
“However, one would be hard pressed to make the case that, apart from a factor of convenience, the ebook experience is on average of the same level as the print product.”
I must strongly disagree. For me and MILLIONS of my fellow Baby Boomers, the ability to increase the point size of text on an e-reader (Kindle, in my case) makes the reading experience vastly more comfortable and enjoyable. I don’t know how old you are, but you’ll understand someday.
Brenneman responds: I really appreciate your reading the column, and appreciate even more your feedback. You definitely are engaged in the dialog.
The objective of my recent column was not to disparage the potential of the ebook format, but rather the sorry state of quality assurance related to ebook production in many organizations. Even a cursory review of the quality of products in the marketplace today reveals egregious quality errors that should have been caught and corrected. Many organizations simply do not apply the same standards of care and quality to the digital product that they do to print. The column was intended to be a challenge to publishers to put as much care into their digital product as they do into print. My comment about “quality of experience” was not about the capabilities of the format, but the level of quality of production and how the medium is used.
I have been involved in developing digital media products for over 25 years—so I guess that would make me old. But digital is all that I have done. In addition to having worked within technology companies and online services, I have worked within large publishing organizations—but always as the digital guy. I believe in the digital content—in user-controlled interactive content—and have devoted my career to it.
It is time that digital product stopped getting second-class status in the minds of publishers. That was the intent of the column.
Thanks again for your note and keep reading!
Gitek responds: I agree with everything you wrote, with one caveat. Unfortunately, the current “state of quality assurance” in the print media isn’t all that great, either. I say that with some authority, as I have been a publications editor for more than three decades. (I assume I’m even older than you!) The number of usage, grammar and punctuation mistakes I come across in print books, magazines and newspapers is shocking and disheartening. In my view, it’s just one more symptom of the dumbing-down of America. P.S. Thanks for taking the time to respond to my earlier email.