Book designer Joel Friedlander speaks with BookBaby president Brian Felsen about how eBooks are similar and dissimilar to print books. Joel believes that whenever new technology is introduced, it imitates elements of the older technology being replaced in order to resonate with users (who may otherwise be unsure of the new technology’s utility).

For instance, when the early typesetters first started making books, they were attempting to make books resemble the work of scribes. Early photography sought to mimic painting. Early films were essentially stage plays caught on camera. Similarly, eBooks are now trying to be a kind of digital equivalent of print books.

But at some point these newer technologies free themselves from the confines of equivalency. That is when the real innovation takes place.

Joel wonders what an eBook will be when we stop thinking of it merely as a print book’s more convenient replacement.

What do you think? Is the eBook just the newest incarnation of the “book?” Or is it something else entirely? If so, … what? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Joel Friedlander: The Book Designer

Chris Robley

About Chris Robley

Chris Robley has written 563 posts in this blog.

is an award-winning poet, songwriter, performer, and music producer who now lives in Portland, Maine after more than a decade in Portland, Oregon. His music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, and others. Skyscraper Magazine said he is “one of the best short-story musicians to come along in quite some time.” Robley’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma Poetry, and more. He is the 2013 winner of Boulevard's Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers and the 2014 recipient of a Maine Literary Award in the category of "Short Works Poetry."

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