On a recent flight from Los Angeles to Portland (home of Powell’s, one of the coolest bookstores ever!), I found myself engaged in a delightful discussion about the t- (for traditional) vs e-book with the guy next to me.
My seatmate’s wife had given him a Kindle, which is great for all the traveling he does, but like me, he misses seeing, smelling, coveting a “real” book. We mourned the loss of an era, wondering if the traditional book will go the way of cassettes, vhs tapes, or God forbid, the 8-track. The conversation led to a critique of the current commercials and advertising: the geeky old PC geezer trying to keep up with the cute young MAC girl; the cute young girl on her way to a brick-and-mortar bookstore waylaid by a hip young man with a Kindle. No elaborate sets, no fancy props; just the facts, ma’am.
So why not, we thought, fight fire with fire? What if traditional publishers (or the many, many smaller, indie pubs) create their own ads? A couple of cool twenty-somethings on a long flight, one enjoying a book while the other’s iPad loses battery power. Fans lined up to have Stephen King sign their … Kindle. Walking through a hip Soho loft with a floor-to-ceiling bookcase, empty but for a … Nook.
I’m not opposed to progress or technology; I think ebooks are great, too. But let’s not “close the book” on books. Hey, even the vinyl record is making a comeback!