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Introduction to Print Edition

I started blogging in February 2009 because it was really way past time. One of the advantages I was given in life was having been taught to type fast at a very early age, literally taking the pain (as in writer’s cramp) out of creating wordy documents, cuting the time it takes to get them done, and geting the 10,000 hours of practice it requires to get really good at a relatively young age. (If that last reference escapes you, you haven’t yet read “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell.)

Nearly two years later, near the end of 2010, my friends at Kobo asked about collecting the blogs into an ebook. When the ebook ap-peared, another friend, Gene Schwart of Worthy Shorts, ofered to create the print-on-demand edition. And here we are.

The dawn of the ebook era was really prety much simultaneous with the dawn of the print-on-demand era in the late 1990s, but POD was just a bit ahead. John Ingram pioneered POD as a commercial proposition by creating Lightning Print (now Lightning Source) as an adjunct of his wholesaling business with remarkable forethought and vision. The fact that Lightning’s ability to print one at a time was tied to Ingram’s ability to distribute made the whole idea extremely utili-tarian and encouraged publishers to “set up” their books for POD. When ebooks started to happen a very few years later, ebook-frst or ebook-only publishing followed quickly on its heels. Not every book created that way had a print version set up in POD and I often wondered why.

But when Kobo did The Shatkin Files ebook, I made no move to set up for a printed edition. For one thing, the book is extremely long (as you know, because you’re holding it in your hands) which means that it certainly couldn’t be cheap. The ebook ($3.99) is cheap. But I also must admit that I just don’t have the reverence and re-spect for the printed and bound codex that many others do. When I started reading on a Palm Pilot in about 1999 I had no problem leav-ing printed books behind. But, my idiosyncracies aside, there is litle doubt that many people really still prefer print, both for consumption and for the tangible souvenir value.

One of the people with that appreciation is Gene Schwart, who began his long career in publishing working in print production. Gene

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