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Musings on first love

September 10, 2010

I’m juggling my calendar, planning the fall, astonished how all deadlines seem to pile on top of each other. Is it that I’m drawn to those points in time that seem so beautifully rounded: the first of a month, the fifteenth? Or just that when projects are planned, October 15th seems so far away that planning three events around it seems perfectly managable? I don’t know, I just know that it will work itself out.

I have no excuse, however, for weighing my calendar down with a trip to London to attend Power to the Pixel’s cross-media forum in the days leading up to this ominous deadline. Well, I have one  excuse – and it’s good: it will be an interesting and highly relevant event. Time will be made (Just have to locate the factory that manufactures it).

Among the things I force myself to forego  is the Göteborg Book Fair, which seems highly irrelevant. I don’t work in the book business, after all. Or paper industry, or how you want to put it.

This is how I think about the fair, anyway, which puzzles me when I write it down: How did literature get irrelevant for someone working with cross-media? How can I be this backward in my thinking, when iPads and Kindles are making literature part of  the ‘screen based industries’. The book is no less of a mass medium than tv or film, no less “no longer analogue”, no less 3D, if you allow for the multiple dimensions of the mind. It’s the low tech production methods and the established format that tricks me into thinking that experiencing a book is less of a media experience than watching a film or playing a game.

I’m not sure this matters. I am sure it’s going to change. “Screenbased content” will include literature. Literature will change when liberated from paper. It’s going to be confusing, annoying and fun. To figure out what’s goint to happen, shouldn’t I go where the content people are, in stead of attending my 54th seminar with the buzzword people without answers? You might recognize this as a rhetorical question, as in my experience, the Book Fair will be filled with other narrow minds sporting t-shirts with THE BOOK IS NOT DEAD, multiple exclamation marks – they are in the paper industry and have indeed missed the whole point.

But more than this, I get a bit emotional by my own narrow mind because these days, I feel like a cheater. Books were my first love. Without books, I would never have understood that the world was a bigger place then the pothole where I grew up. I would never have decided to become an author, later redefined to journalist with the help of practically minded parents, redefined to “media somethingsomething” by University.

My early defining moments were led on or accompanied by literature, and I still define myself as a “book person”. You see, I buy a lot of books, I just have no time to read them, because of the films and tv-series and games that pile up and seem so relevant to what I do. I peek at the pile of paperbound experiences that are not about what I do, but about who I am, because alone in a book, you can’t shy away from that meeting. And that experience will never change, whatever platform it’s on.

I don’t have to go to the Göteborg Book Fair to love books. Or to read. But in all the talks of new distribution models and platforms and criss-cross-trans-mashup, it’s important to remember the power in a universe that comes to life and invites you in with just a little ink on paper.  If that’s not an invitation to get interactive, I don’t know what is.

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From → Cross-media

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