Hello TeleRead readers—allow me to introduce myself. My name is Dan Eldridge, and I’m both pleased and honored to announce that as of today, and for the foreseeable future, I’ll be acting as TeleRead.com’s editor-in-chief.
As many of you are undoubtedly already aware, TeleRead’s previous editor, the inimitable Paul Biba, resigned from his position early last week in order to pursue other opportunities. A cross-country motorcycle tour is apparently in Biba’s future, and frankly, we can’t think of a better reason to break the proverbial shackles of a non-stop, round-the-clock blogging gig such as this one.
In fact, all of us here at NAPCO‘s headquarters in Philadelphia would like to wish Paul the very best in whichever future endeavor he chooses to pursue. I, for one, am well aware of the fact that I have some very big shoes to fill as I go about the process of taking TeleRead into the next stage of its evolution. After all, Paul was nothing if not a staunch and passionate supporter of independent publishers and new-to-the-game writers. And there’s no doubt that he had his finger on the very pulse of the eReading and ePublishing scenes during his time here at TeleRead.
If we’re lucky, perhaps Paul will agree to write the occasional post for us as he motors his way from one coast of the country to the other. I, for one, would be fascinated to find out exactly how readers in various out-of-the-way American outposts feel about the issues and controversies surrounding the world of electronic reading today. I’d also love to hear about Paul’s future adventures, and about the electronic reading that will almost certainly accompany them. If you’re out there, Paul, let us know what you think.
* * *
Incidentally, it has occurred to me that some of you might be curious to know a little about my own background, so I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you just a bit about myself: I currently work as a managing editor for a number of different print publications produced by NAPCO’s Consumer Technology Publishing Group. I’m fairly new to the company, however; I’ve only been here for a little over a month.
Prior to being brought onboard at NAPCO, I worked full-time from a home office as a freelance journalist. Throughout my career, I’ve covered everything from international travel and independent music to commercial real estate, entrepreneurship, and of course, the very wide world of publishing. I’ve also worked with a fairly large number of publishing companies over the years, helping them to produce everything from alt-weeklies to glossy magazines to online publications, and nearly everything else in between. I once spent a summer working for an English-language magazine published for backpackers in Istanbul, Turkey, for instance. And when I went so far as to publish my very own print title—a short-lived magazine covering independent travel culture—it was recognized as one of the best new titles of the year by the Utne Reader‘s annual Independent Press Awards.
I mention all of this, by the way, not to toot my own horn, but rather to point out that the challenges facing the publishing industry today are challenges I take very seriously, and think about quite often. After all, I’ve had a lengthy and satisfying career in the publishing field thus far, and I have no intention of switching gears anytime soon, regardless of the often frustrating changes that are currently taking place.
It’s probably also worth mentioning here that the sorts of issues that have been discussed and debated on TeleRead over the past few years are exactly the sorts of issues I want to continue thinking about, and writing about. And yet at the same time, there are undoubtedly dozens of other directions in which we can take the current discussions surrounding eReading and ePublishing, and I plan to explore a good many of those directions in the coming months. I hope you’ll join me—and I hope you’ll assist me—by leaving a comment whenever you feel strongly about a particular post.
I’d also like to invite all of you to email me directly with any comments, concerns, suggestions, news tips, press releases or anything else you feel might add to the ongoing discussion that has been built here by Paul, and by contributor Chris Meadows, and of course by David Rothman, TeleRead’s founder. My address is deldridge at napco.com. And for those of you who’d like to follow me on Twitter, where I’ll almost certainly be publishing TeleRead-related tweets in the near-future, I’m @YoungPioneers.
And again, a huge thanks to the both of you, Paul and Chris, for the hugely valuable contribution you’ve already made to this community. I suspect I won’t be the only one keeping a close eye on your future endeavors. And to everyone else: I’ll see you online!
Thank you for the introduction. We look forward to the continued great insight from Teleread.
It’s great to have someone with a great journalistic background come to Teleread where the difference between reporting and op/ed has become increasingly blurred.
Thank you so much, Paul. I appreciate the kind words, and I’ll look forward to hearing from you more in the future.
Hi Marilynn—I actually really appreciate you pointing that out. Just to be clear, though, I definitely do feel that the op-ed style has its place in the blogging universe, and I’m sure you’ll find me getting opinionated from time to time. But with that said, I certainly do understand where the line is drawn—or should be drawn, at any rate—between journalism and opinion. It’ll be interested to walk both of those lines in the coming months, I’m sure.
Welcome! I look forward to seeing the directions you take this. This blog has been my only “must-read” for some time now, and I’m excited to see your contribution!
welcome! i too look forward to reading more from you.
Welcome aboard, Dan! Sent you an email with a few questions—hope you are settling in okay!
Congratulations and the very best of luck, Dan! You certainly come with your share of journalistic credentials. I see all kinds of wonderful possibilities.
One new wrinkle I’d love would be more reviews of e-book-related hardware and software, especially if they’re authoritative and thorough. As a pro, you’ll know how to connect with both existing and new reviewers and keep the accuracy and integrity quotients high.
Newsy Q&A’s with industry leaders would be good as well. Same for podcasts, in which you could interview them. You might even experiment with a little video when you go to trade shows and find them there. Or maybe use Skype at times?
I’d also welcome more e-book reviews, of both commercial and literary titles.
What’s more, I’d like some posts to be tagged “Novices” and address the needs of e-book newcomers. A related link could appear at the top of the page, right after “Ereaders.” I’d hope that old-timers, rather than resenting the tips for novices, would contribute their own wisdom in the comments section.
Perhaps readers can give us feedback on the above ideas and add their own. And meanwhile, it’s great to see you jumping into the comment area. The more often you can do it, the better.
TeleRead is about conversation, not just traditional one-way journalism (the old paper-era letters to the editor really didn’t count – given the delays before they appeared). When I owned and edited TeleRead, I learned as much from readers as they learned from me; in fact, maybe more. Sometimes I changed my opinions as a result.
By the way, I totally agree with you about the need for opinionated posts. And I don’t just mean “op-eds.” The challenge with blogging, of course, is that lines between news and opinion can blur, and in the end, it really depends on the kind of audience you’re going after.
Over the years, TeleRead readers have grown accustomed to posts mixing news and opinion – as opposed to an MSM approach. At the same time, it’ll be wonderful to publish a variety of opinions from different people.
When I edited TeleRead and fumed against the horrors of copyright extension, I made it clear I’d love to publish the other side. As I see it, the goal here should be fairness as opposed to “objectivity.”
And also accuracy – whoever the author is. Down with the myth of journalistic infallibility! Thank goodness for the comments section! I’m delighted that NAPCO has not only retained the home page postings of comments, but also made it easier to read older ones.
Once again, congrats!
Cofounder and Editor-Publisher, LibraryCity.org
Great post, David. I’ve always liked the chattier posts, myself—the sort of case study ones especially, where people write about their experiences downloading library books for the first time, or purchasing an ebook reader for their children or parents. I see myself as a ‘regular’ reader and not an inside the industry expert, so I benefit from these posts because it gives me a glimpse of what I, as a regular person, can expect from various products. If other people found a certain aspect challenging, or especially useful, or nicely done, that means more to me than a spec sheet.
And like you said, it is a dialogue. It’s not that there is one ‘correct’ or ‘official’ opinion or position that the editor must adhere too, with corresponding incorrect opinions which must be filtered out. I always enjoy reading the comments and seeing where the discussion goes—and sometimes, during your reign, I remember you’d pull out an especially well-done dissenting comment and promote it to a proper post!
I’d love to see podcasts, especially now that Paula B of the Writing Show has switched over to slushpile critique format only and is no longer interviewing those in the writing business. And I’d love to see a longer-term feature where we follow someone for a specific project during a set period, for instance, a newbie author during their first six months of self-publishing. I read a fitness magazine that has a similar feature where they follow someone’s progress on their fitness plan with a monthly check-in for a year, and it’s always very popular and well commented on.
Terrific ideas, Joanna – especially for a podcast with e-author interviews.
If nothing else, I hope that Dan can have your on as a reviewer or author interviewer during a main TeleRead podcast.
And, yes, I’d love to see Dan give special prominence in the main section of the blog to dissenting comments, just as TeleRead has done in the past.
I’m relieved this won’t change to a straight reporting focus without opinions because a problem is that all reporters (if they’re thinkers) HAVE opinions and it’s better to know what they are when reading their reports (and certainly more interesting for me — that’s why I’ve come here to read in the past).
As David says, being (truly) open to countering opinions has been an important factor with Teleread too. I love the realness of the regular staff here, starting with Paul and David, and am glad that will continue or at least that intention.
I enjoyed things like Pauls special microscope experiments with e-ink displays and his personal reactions to e-readers and tablets (and even accessories that can help or hinder), as what I want to know is what people I take the time to read really think. An attempt at objectivity is very important but with humans there’s no such thing. So the idea is to get as close to that as possible at the moment by adding what others might or might not like about a situation or a product.
As a TeleRead writer, I’ve felt it was my responsibility to provide an opinion on the stories I report. If you want the straight story, you can read the link I link to. If you’re reading what I write, you’re reading it because you want something other than that. If I’m not going to give my point of view, I might as well just be copying and pasting.
David, even though you and I have been corresponding privately today, I’d like to offer you a HUGE thanks—in a public forum—for all these incredibly useful suggestions.
And I’d like to say the same to you, Joanna. A number of the ideas you mentioned, in fact, are very similar to some of the ideas I’ve had in mind for the site’s future. I definitely hope you’ll stay in touch and share even more of these sorts of thoughts as they occur to you. (And I did get your email, by the way; I’ll respond to you as soon as I can.)
One last point: When it comes to executing new editorial ideas for a site with a readership as large as TeleRead’s, I believe it’s crucial to keep that site’s community in mind. In other words, if at all possible, I’d like to be confident that whenever I execute a new concept, those of you who visit TeleRead on a regular basis are just as excited about it as I’ll probably be.
Of course, there’s really only one way to monitor that sort of thing: communication. So although I’ve mentioned this before, I’d like to continue encouraging anyone with an interest in TeleRead to contact me if there’s something in particular you’d like to see here. I can’t promise that I’ll be able to respond to each one of you personally, of course, But I can promise that I’ll read every email I receive. So don’t be shy: I’m listening!
Congratulations, although belated. I have to tell you how happy I am to locate you and your site. Is there a link or information about where to submit ebooks / kindle books for consideration for reviews?