If you’re a fan of jazz and you live in the Boston area, or find yourself in the Boston area someday, a visit to Wally’s Jazz Cafe in South Boston is sure to be an oasis in your day. And if you’re super lucky, you’ll find that you’re seated next to a writer who is deeply interested in ebooks and engages you in a delightful and thought-provoking conversation about writing, ereaders, and whether ebooks will or will not decimate print books … all the while with jazz playing in the background. Sublime.
Listening to jazz is one of those moments in life in which I can actually switch off the chatter in my brain and just listen … listen to creative improvisation. “In many instances the players will try to expand upon what the player before them has just played.” In some ways this actually reminds me of the creative process (taking inspiration from others) and also our #eprdctn group on Twitter (sharing information on current technology and trying to make it work better for us).
The writer I was seated next to was Myles Barker and, for the record, we agreed that print books will not go away but will remain for content that benefits highly from that format (highly-designed content such as comics and art books). Check his site out—another conversation we had was regarding his current project of a serialized novel and leveraging the Web to build an audience. He’s doing interesting things with this platform. In turn, he turned me on to Smell of Books and I immediately tried to put in an order through my phone right there at the bar for Scent of Sensibility, although that might have been fueled by my second vodka-and-tonic … but that shall remain between me and Myles.
He also gave me the link to the talk at TED that Chip Kidd gave about book cover design. At the 13:10 mark (there’s a link to it on the right side of the web page) Chip ponders why print books are an object worth contemplating. The smell! Oh yes, he goes there. But the quote that stays with me the most is early in the speech: “A book designer gives form to content, but also manages a very careful balance between the two.” And whether designing for print or digital formats, this one thing remains true.
When my hard-working husband arrived at Wally’s, Myles gave him his seat at the bar. And I gave thanks for books, the ebook ride, jazz, and gentlemen.
See you again at Wally’s soon.