The thing is… I don’t know what to do with them. I’ve read my own piece more than enough before publication, and I have read the other ones already online. And the whole question an entire publishing industry must face every day is- what is the added value of the print version? Yes, I can read it offline, away from electricity, the network. In my reading room. And I can look at the ads.
I do enjoy reading print books, there is something more intimate and often (but not always) immersive about holding it in my hands, not getting twitter pop-up messages. Just me and someone’s imagination or ideas.
So I am not implying that print journals are useless. But the entire shift is standing in our faces- the value pre-internet was that this was the only way to get the information contained within. That advantage is now gone. It is time to create a new value.
What can be done that is of value with this version in my hands?
I now face the prospect of putting them on a shelf, in a box, in a cabinet. In the past I might have mailed a copy to my Mom.
I seek an experiment, maybe inspired by I Left This For You To Read.
What happens if these get sent out by mail, and people choose to annotate, markup, add questions/ideas, maybe scotch tape in something relevant, and then send it on to someone else with the same invitation? Where would they go? What would they become? Could it become a more personal kind of sharing than on the big wide open internet? Can something more be made of it?
Maybe a piece of literature would be better, but I have these 10 copies and think it is worth even a lead balloon idea than just let them sit on a shelf.
Thus, the experiment. I will keep a copy for myself and maybe send one to my sister. That leaves 8 copies of this issue of EDUCAUSE Review.
- If you want a copy, use my contact form and send me a mailing address. I’ll mail it to you. You will get some handwritten barely legible message from me.
- I will include a web form address just so I can know geographically where it went. Thats the only info I will ask.
- You can just keep it. End of story. Or, you can make something out of it, or an article within. Or turn into art, pr a story, or just commentary.
- Optional, but it would be cool to see a blog post or a tweet, what it’s like to get this. Maybe I’ll ask for some cryptic hash tag.
- And what would be cool is if you send it on to someone else.
Maybe this is silly. If I hear nothing, I conclude it’s not really an interesting idea, and I shall have to make some room on the bookshelf.
But if written material is not unique because it is widely available, it seems to be that some form of social reading, or within smaller networks, might be the way to keep that print thing special.
And no, I am not trying to shill my article. There are plenty of others to read.
What do you think? What do we do with stuff in print? Eight copies remain, envelopes ready.