Welcome to The Digitalist

A relatively new blog at the company where I work is called The Digitalist. This blog was an internal forum for Pan Macmillan to think about a range of digital-publishing issues, that is, how technology meets books, reading, publishing, and how they are all changing each other. It still has that function, but now it’s open for everyone to "join the debate about books, publishing, the web, and the future".

Amid quite technical posts about e-publishing and how to build Facebook applications, I enjoy reading articles such as this one, by James Long, about his thoughts on reading the printed version of Jeff Gomez’s "book of the blog", Print is Dead. ( 😉 ) James discusses memory, forgetting and reading:

"Sometimes, to help ourselves remember what we liked most in a book, or what was most relevant in it, we make notes in the margin or write short references in the back cover or underline words and lines. This makes the book searchable, enabling you to return to it when your memory of its content has faded a bit and still find what was important to you. If you no longer had the book, you’d lose that memory.So the perception is: print persists; digital disappears. At least, digital remains less tangible – both during reading and after. Therefore, for some, books in print on shelves are paramount; books in digital formats and online are not totemic enough to support our labouring organic memory systems.The truth, though, is that digital books are (potentially) more efficient repositories of our memory of the book than the print version: the metadata that you can create, store and report on as to what books you read, when you read them, etc. is a more reliable form of recall; also, books that are indexed (in the search engine sense) are more immediately and effectively searchable than ones that have been annotated in print. The irony is that, once you are outside of the reading experience, the more you have annotated a book the less readable it becomes…."

A thought-provoking post, and I think this is a blog worth following.