Emerging from Flatland

I spent the day at ASIJ attending a workshop for school librarians that presented two speakers; one spoke about library space redesign and the other spoke about the shift from paper-based book and information sources to electronic books and the vast information sources of the internet. After listening to the second speaker, Sherman Young, the author of “The Book Is Dead,” I became more aware of the paradigm shift occurring in the world of publishing, books and authorship. One thing Sherman said that struck me was the idea that a book is “a process; it takes time to write.” When we include the time spent in process and reflection, he explained, as well as the consumption and digestion on the part of the reader as they struggle to construct the reality of that book’s story or concept, then the total navigation time of a well-processed book is considerable. And to continue this idea further, for authors publishing in today’s plethora of platforms, the book becomes even more of a process.

As an author struggling to re-publish material in various new formats, including EPUB, I realized that I was wrestling with the idea that books no longer need be two-dimensional, but now contain the possibility of added dimensions, especially when those dimensions enhance the actual content instead of merely adding superficial bells and whistles. There are so many possibilities that it is hard to envision all the permutations. I feel a bit like a paper doll peeling itself off of the two-dimensional flat page and realizing that there is a huge third dimension that is begging to be explored. So, off we go, exploring the lands beyond the pulp flatlands, hoping to be able to learn from and contribute to this strange, new, puffy world.