The Papyrus Files: Paper
This is the second installment of my new weekly column, “The Papyrus Files.” For more information (or to suggest Papyrus Files fodder), click here.
While we debate how dead print is, what is apparent is that a lot of trees sure will be if we continue on our current trajectory. For example, the book publicists among you know that we print out a lot of media lists for approval — you print out a list for your director to look over, your assistant prints out a list for you to look at, and so on. Those of you who use the Publicity Assistant database to manage your media contacts (the Penguin Group, FSG, Hachette, Norton, and most, recently Simon, among others) can actually make changes directly to lists on the computer using the “XREF (highlight in main data)” function under the Tools tab. It’s hard to explain this function within the confines of a blog post, but you can look it up under the “Help” in PA. Correcting lists in PA is not only the greener alternative (if you care about that sort of thing) but it also saves time: if I write out changes for my assistant, then she has to go into the database and input those very same changes. If I make the changes myself, she’s off the hook (although I would then spend a couple minutes verbally walking through the changes with her).
As far as press materials are concerned — which also are often printed out and marked up by hand — try to encourage people to use the Track Changes function in Word or, perhaps some of you have been using Google Docs which allows multiple people to make changes to a document. (I haven’t yet tried out Google Docs but it sure looks enticing.) These functions / programs save time because changes are entered only once and they improve accuracy because no one is attempting to decipher someone else’s chicken scratch.
Naturally, reading information on a computer brings to mind the issue of eBooks (although I suspect this might not, in fact, be such an issue for many, what with our generous publishing salaries and New York City rents.) At any rate, with limited eBook titles available — and even more limited Kindles — even Print is Dead author Jeff Gomez suggests holding off on purchasing an eReader for the time being. (And Teleread posted an amusing piece the other day by a professor ruminating whether he should plunk down the money for a Kindle.)