Books Are Cool Again

Once upon a time people bought books in bookstores. I should know. My family owned a Christian bookstore chain. It was an idyllic, almost magical time when independent stores like ours and large bookstore chains like B. Dalton Bookseller, Walden, Borders, and Family Christian Stores—plus thousands of independent bookstores—dotted the landscape. Almost every town of any size had at least one. 

Today all those bookstore chains are gone, and the number of independent stores, both general and Christian, has shrunk dramatically. I could list many reasons, but there are just two that matter: the rise of Amazon and the appearance of e-books. Physical bookstores, even those owned by big corporations, just can’t compete with the selection, prices, and convenience of Amazon. And what can possibly match the instant delivery of a book to a device you’re holding in your hand?

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Are E-Books Good For Us?

Every April I read The Great Gatsby. The tradition started the April of my junior year at Wheaton College, when I took my copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece (the most perfect American novel, IMHO) to Adams Park, laid down on the newly warm grass and read through the whole book in one sunny afternoon. It was bliss.

This year, as an experiment, I decided to buy Gatsby on Kindle and read it on my iPad. I’ve hitherto been loathe to enter the world of e-books, but I figured I better not knock it until I’ve tried it. A few weeks ago at Biola’s Imagination Summit, a discussion on “the future of books” with Moe Girkins (former CEO of Zondervan) and Jason Illian (CEO of e-book upstart ReThink Books) got me thinking about the topic. E-books certainly seem to be the future. Physical books, Borders, libraries… all of that will likely become outmoded. But is that a good thing?

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NOVO Ink 45 second demo

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Just because you can doesn't mean you should

What makes a new innovation worth pursuing as we strive to create resources that will help others grow in their faith? For many years we have assumed that if a new technology comes along we should use it to reach out and share the Gospel with others.

In most cases we have used very little discretion as we apply various technologies to the communication of God's vision for the world. Sure, there were always the laggards in the adoption cycle that said that this technology or that was "of the Devil." But for the most part those concerns were reactionary rather than well thought out.

That lack of discretion has caused our message to be impacted by the technology that we use. Think about how television preaching has impacted our standing with nonbelievers and our approach to that time of teaching?

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Interactive Christian eBooks from NOVO Ink

Welcome to NOVO ink! Why NOVO Ink? The story behind our name is simple. NOVO Ink means "new link." We are living through a revolution in publishing. For centuries books were created by using ink on paper.

Today, however, readers like you are rapdily moving from the traditional world of ink and paper into an era of instant publication delivery through the Internet and reading eBooks, eMagazines, and other epublications of all kins on a variety of eBook readers and devices, none of which use ink or paper. Thus our name. Digital is the new ink of our time, and eBooks are the way to read.

Our goal at NOVO Ink is to bring you a remarkable selection of life-enhancing eBooks and eZines. We hope you'll enjoy a wide variety of choices that will help grow your faith and strengthen your values, as well as enrich everyday life and business.

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The iPad and Imagination

Even before Apple pulled back the curtain on its new iPad--the iconoclast himself holding the brand new device and calling it "a truly magical and revolutionary" product--the anticipation for the Apple Tablet was enormous. The publishing world in particular was gaga in the days leading up to the announcement, a lot of industry leaders wondering whether or not the Apple tablet will revolutionize the distribution of newspapers, magazines, and books in the same the iPod transformed the music industry.

Whether the iPad ends up revolutionizing the way we buy and consume digital content of all kinds remains to be seen. But at first blush I do believe Steve Jobs has once again done something extraordinarily well. He hasn't just created a device; he has tapped into our imaginations. By calling the iPad "magical" rather than "useful" or "universal," Jobs has soared above the ordinary by placing this device--and let's face it, the iPad is just a device--into the realm of wonder rather than utility. If Steve Jobs is to be believed, the iPad isn't a device to merely help you do things more efficiently. It is device that will help you dream of doing things better.

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Top Ten Reasons Real Books Are Better Than e-Books

Originally published at The Curator Magazine, January 2, 2009.

The Amazon Kindle and iPhone apps like Stanza are beginning to make inroads in the e-Book market. But nothing will ever really replace paper books. Why, you ask?

10. No need to wait until the pilot gives you permission to use personal electronic devices.
9.  It’s OK if you forget to charge your real book.
8.  Unwrapping a download is so anti-climactic.
7.  Speaking of which, it’s hard to wrap a download.

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