Today I went to Book Summit 2010. The very first thing I learned there is that the adjective in the name of the conference is misleading. Sure, books are a very big part of the overall mix, but there was also a lot of discussion about printing, drawing an audience in the mass- and web-based media, the neuropsychological act of reading and how it affects the reader's social skills, and.... lots of other things that I would blog about except that, four hours after it ended, my head is still exploding, albeit in a very positive manner.
In a way, it was the perfect fun day for bookworms. First, we got to learn about e-readers from a technological/gadget point of view. Then we got serenaded with parodic songs about copyright. If that doesn't sound funny to you, you can't have been there.
Then we all dashed off to the two information sessions we had chosen for the morning (mine were "Books and the Media" and "Reading in the Digital Age"). After a yummy, healthy lunch, we went to our selected afternoon sessions (mine was "The 21st Century Writer"). The day wrapped up with a panel discussion, and the giving away of the door prize. It was a Kobo Reader, which I (ulp!) won. I never win door prizes, so that part was a bit confusing.
My inner bookworm child feels like she just went to the best party ever. There was even an afternoon ice cream break. Nothing like wandering into a panel discussion on the future of publishing while your inner child is busy exclaiming, "We got ice cream and now we're going to talk about books some more! Wow!"
I started to read Chaucer's Canterbury Tales with the Kobo on the way home — since the tales pre-date Gutenberg's press and are being included free on many e-readers it seemed like the right place to start.
There was at least one profound idea to absorb every quarter-hour or so, all throughout the day, and you may have noticed while reading this that I've been trying to avoid getting into them. I'm sure many of them will be fodder for at least one blog post in the future, as will a review of that Kobo reader.
For now I'm still trying to absorb it all. The most clear take-away so far is that whatever form the things we call "books" take in the near or far future, there will always be stories to tell, and we have to remember that's the important part. It was as good a root cause analysis as I've heard lately on any topic.
Many thanks to the organisers, presenters, and other attendees. I am so grateful I got to be there with you and learn so much.