It is no surprise to hear that media is different now than it was a mere five years ago. Technology has changed, and it has brought a host of new features and conveniences with it. Take .mp3 format: just coming into the mainstream a few years ago, and it has revolutionized the music industry. "The death of the music album" some people say, and it is true – it's all about singles now. Even here in our little knitblog world, we have .mp3 podcasts and sound files, and even .mpeg video files showing how to do a special technique.
Although .pdf is a proprietary format, it has also revolutionized the way that documents are stored, and thus displayed for the user. It's so easy to purchase Glampyre, Eunny, Anna Bell, Knit and Tonic, or Zephyr patterns and immediately cast on for the pattern, hot off the printer. They are just so accessible! Amazing, no?
The thing that I love about it the most? It's so grassroots – so homegrown! You wanna publish your own patterns? you can do it! You wanna have your own talk show? you can do it! You wanna dye your own yarn and start an online shop? you can do it! You just need the right equipment, a desire to learn and experiment, and time to devote to it… Once again, I am revelling in the sheer amazingness of this community.
If it not clear enough by my nerdy knowledge of audiovisual formats, I am a librarian / archivist. I love media and I love information. I love new formats, and I cling to old formats too – I still listen to some cassette tapes, and I prefer to read a real book over a computer screen.
The book business is still alive and kicking – and it seems like the craft-related books are more successful than ever (anyone with any authority to confirm this?) There are new knitting books coming out every season (check out the post I wrote a few weeks back about all of the funny fall titles!) and while I love me some new knitting books, I am often hesitant to buy any craft book before I can see some of the designs inside.
You can hear a song on the radio, or can download a short sound clip; there is a constant stream of movie previews and trailers (Snakes on a Plane!) on TV and the internet – why not market books the same way? A few book publishers offer a little preview on their website, maybe one or two designs, but if you really want to look through the book, you have to wait until your local library purchases a copy, or until your local book / yarn store stocks it – and then you have to deal with placing holds and interlibrary loans, or dealing with a salesperson who is more interested in their weekend plans than in helping you find your knitting book. (Okay, this is not always the case, I used to work in a book store, and I cared! but you know the type…)
Luckily, with some forward-thinking commercial sites (I am not really endorsing them, but I do love this feature!) it is possible to see what's inside before you buy. And even cooler still? You may recognize some of your friend's and fellow knitblogger's work!
See under the book cover? There are actual pictures of handknit socks made from this book's patterns! You undoubtedly recognize my Trekking socks, but Caro's recently completed Oak Ribbed Socks are also featured.
It's as easy as starting an account, finding the book, and uploading your own images of the work. As you upload images, you create your own personal gallery, and other users can vote on how helpful this image was when they were researching the book.
These shared customer images are so great to look through! They are a major selling point for me, seeing some of the designs inside the book, as well as what a specific crafter decided to do with their own version of the pattern. See Denyse Schmidt Quilts, Mason-Dixon Knitting, and Last-Minute Knitted Gifts for some other inspirational and crafty user images. If you are so inclined, upload your finished objects from your favorite books, and share them with the world! You just may inspire someone!
It is so fascinating to observe the way that technology changes the way to work, they way we live, and even the way we craft. Stay tuned for some interesting technologies 'round these parts – the wheels in my head are turning (again), and I am bursting with ideas! Also stay tuned in the next few weeks for some special knitting book author interviews… it's going to be a fun fall!