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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010 4:50 pm
Won’t Anyone Please Think of the Comics?
Posted by: Ian Chipman

ipadSo, the iPad is here (yes yes, total namefail) and all the geeks are mad because it does what everyone’s been conjecturing it’ll do for months if not years, but fails to do anything that no one thought of. Do people think that Apple has people coming up with ideas from different dimensions? Is it supposed to cook for you? Digitally improve all reality within a ten-foot radius of the user? Tell killer stories at cocktail parties?

It is what it is, which, if you work in magazine land or comics world, is pretty exciting. I happen to work in both, so I’m pretty much slavering. No, it probably won’t kill the Kindle as an ebook reader (though that part of it does look waaay nicer), but where it’s light years ahead is in its rich graphical interface. This thing is the perfect comic reader. The model is here already with the iPhone comics readers, where you give ‘em a freebie with issue #1, then charge $.99 or so for the following issues. How easy is it to spend a buck you don’t even have to take out of your pocket to see what happens next to Atomic Robo? (Hint: bad news for Nazis.) But to have it be page-size rather than panel-size is a game-changer.

And how about magazines? How cool would it be to read Booklist on this thing as it appears in print, tap a review, and shoot over to all the neato stuff (find some similar title recommendations, see what else the author has written, immediately add it to a list for Baker & Taylor) we’ve got on Booklist Online, just like that! (/snaps fingers)

Even more, newpapers can chunk in videos right inside of articles–see ya, network newscasts! Chicago weatherman extraordinaire Tom Skilling can give me the forecast, but I’ll be the one in charge of zooming through and around all those high-tech weather models. I want to touch all of my media content on a gloriously glossy screen, and I want it yesterday. Let the saving of the publishing industry commence.

I’m sure there’s all manner of finer points, but that’s for tomorrow (or, you know, many tomorrows’ tomorrows). For today, I’m sold. Anyone got an extra $500 lying around?



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