If you’re reading this, you may be part of the e-book era, or at least close to it.
I know a little about woodworking and a little about publishing. That’s more or less why I have a job here. What both of these endeavors have in common – besides owing their lives to trees – is that they are slowly but surely changing with the times. Both woodworking and publishing (or reading, which is the same thing at the end of the day) are undergoing massive and exciting changes. For the better, in my opinion. (That opinion, like all the opinions in this article, are mine alone – they may or may not be shared by other editors here at Popular Woodworking.)
Woodworkers today enjoy the benefits of blended shops that include precision machinery and precision hand tools. We enjoy access to some amazing instruction in both traditional designs and contemporary ideas. I expect that over the next decade, assuming our best woodworkers can continue to find good raw material, we’re going to see some major new pieces and methods emerging onto the scene.
How is that happening? In a word, innovation. Those who can think far enough ahead – visionary new toolmakers and woodworking leaders – are providing the means for the rest of the community to incrementally move forward.
It’s the same process in the world of publishing, reading and knowledge. Books were stuck. Like many of you, I enjoyed my reading anyway, but the methods were totally frozen in time. Then someone started the web, and what happened? The methods of information-gathering started to change. Because that’s why books existed in the first place – to gather information – they changed, too. We’re all part of that process of reinventing the book. Simply put, if you’re reading this blog post, you are contributing to this new era of on-screen reading and writing.
That does not, in any way, mean that we’re all going to give up our print books, the printed version of the magazine and our older ways of gathering knowledge. I’m not. I gotta have my paper every now and then, not to mention human contact. But it’s safe to say that we’re all in blended shops now – we can use any means we want to get what we want.
I invite you to tour the Popular Woodworking e-books web site. In my years in publishing, I have seen maybe one or two other e-book sites that are this clean and user-friendly. It’s a major triumph. Take a moment to watch the video from Tom Nunlist, our online community editor, that introduces everything the site has to offer.
Also, write to us about your blended shop (and your blended collection of reading material). We’d love to hear your thoughts. We think this stuff is pretty important!