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Selling Points
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Selling Points

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. 

My whole profile and gallery are here

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! 

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35 Responses

  1. Liz K.

    Oh, Lolly, I love it when your wheels turn and you burst with ideas! I never knew about that feature on Amazon, but wow! How cool! Always the librarian, directing us to the helpful resources. As a fellow librarian (retired for motherhood), I thank you from the bottom of my old-and-new-media-loving heart.

  2. anna

    absolutely. there’s no way i would have started (or continued) to design if not for this whole crazy blog phenomenon.

  3. maryse

    i’m very pleased that amazon’s done this because like you, i hesitate to purchase a book without seeing pages or designs from it. in my opinion, there’s still work to be done.

    or maybe i’m better off. it’s much too easy to point and click.

  4. caro

    I love that feature on Amazon! I’m always so excited when I finish something from a book that I can upload and share. Now I’m going to go mark all your photos as “helpful!”

  5. heather

    fabulous! we’ve come a long way baby.

  6. Claudia

    HA, it’s funny that just three days ago I was looking at buying Nancy Bush’s book and looked at customer photos and found your JayTrekkers – my first reaction, OH, I know those! OH, it’s Lolly’s socks!!

    I have to admit that I love Amazon. I do not buy books anywhere else, and I buy plenty. Be it directly from Amazon or (usually) from “second hand” booksellers!

    Great post, as always!

  7. Jenna

    I would have been really impressed if you had written this post last night because that would mean that you can drink wine and still put together a really astute blog post :)

    You’re right, the variety of media outlets we have now is staggering and it’s cool when we have new ways to interact with “old” formats. It’s something I’ve been thinkig about lately as I’ve gotten into listening to podcasts, but want to find ways to fit it listening to them with music, reading, movies, etc.

  8. Nery

    Good post. It is one of the reasons I buy from Amazon as well. And, I too, have recognized your photos and even searched out your reviews. (I value your opinion!) It happened to me with Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

  9. margene

    You are so right about technology. 3 years ago I knew very little and still don’t know that much about computers. But, I can meet friends all over the globe, knit patterns that never see the inside of a yarn shop and buy what I need without leaving my chair. The home grown designers and dyers are often better than any available elsewhere. Great post, Lolly!!

  10. hillary

    I just love this post and I agree wholeheartedly. I hadn’t seen that Amazon feature myself (I’m on a book buying diet) but I love it. As a librarian I find it wonderful when the technology and the hard copy complement each other so well.

  11. Leah

    Lolly! This is great info! Geek that I am, I immediately when and added my photo to the group for Knitting Vintage Socks! Makes me feel almost famous!

    I have thought on more than one occasion how cool a time we live in that we can see and participate in the technological changes that are occurring so rapidly around us. So exciting!

  12. Debby

    What a great post — lots to think about! I’m a former librarian too (see today’s post) who is also enjoying the marriage of the traditional book formats with the wonders of the internet! Lots of very talented knitters who might never have been able to publish patterns are now being offered book contracts, and others are publishing patterns right online; like you, I love the grassroots aspect of this where so much more is available to us and publishers/companies are paying attention to the knitblogging public.

    I didn’t realize that you could post finished objects next to the books that contain the patterns for them, so I’ll be sure to check out your creations when next on Amazon!

  13. Kristin

    Thanks for the tip–I wasn’t aware of that feature and it definitely saves time from having to google and then wade through tons of irrelevant sites to see pictures of finished items.

  14. Lyndsey-Jane

    As far as I am aware this feature doesn’t exist on amazon.co.uk, and being from UK this is where I buy my books from. You post has enlightned to me this feature and in future I can check .com for customer images before buying from .co.uk What .co.uk has is a feature where certain pages of the book are availble to see on screen. Only a small percentage of book have this feature at present but it is very useful when it occurs. Thanks for the tip Lolly, really enjoyed your post.

  15. Kelly

    Great post! I love being able to download patterns right away and since my local bookstore dosn’t carry a lot of the newer knitting titles it’s great to go to these sites and actually look inside the book and see if it’s somthing I might like!

  16. christine

    What a great post, Lolly! You so succinctly captured my awe of the internet………….

  17. LBD

    Great post Lol!

  18. Beth

    I’ve found the customer photo feature to be very helpful, too. I also like the “look inside this book” feature and I get a bit grumpy when it isn’t available! I haven’t uploaded any pictures yet. I guess that’s the next step!

  19. catherine

    i knew i reconized the photo for the weekend knitting book ;) i knew it was you, glad to see you posting other projects to one of my favorite sock books! yeah!!!!! btw LOVE the downloadable patterns…. horray!

  20. Sarah

    It IS so fun that we can all share in each others’ creativity as a result! I’ve often found too that patterns created by other bloggers are more ‘fun’ because you can dialogue directly with the designer her/himself.

  21. Jennifer

    I didn’t know about the Amazon feature. That’s so cool!

  22. Susan

    I like to internet shop from Knit Picks because they allow you to “preview” all of their books. It’s nice to see a few projects before buying!

  23. Dorothy B

    Amazon.ca hasn’t got this feature yet. I’m going to do a bit of poking around their .com site and see what I can see.

    I can’t read books on the computer either. It just doesn’t seem to pull me in the way books in my hands do.

  24. Mimi

    I am so glad to be back online and to be able to catch up on Lolly posts…

    I love you!

  25. Jeanine

    Oh the irony that you posted about this today. This afternoon I was doing a google search on the Men’s Raglan Zippered Cardigan. I saw your cardigan on Amazon. Naturally, I clicked the link to your site.


  26. Chris

    I hadn’t noticed the customer images feature on Amazong – that’s very cool! Thanks for the heads up.

  27. carole

    oh, that is so cool! I just went and added the first one I could think of!

  28. Nonnahs

    I wish more people used that Amazon feature (maybe they will now!) – sometimes they don’t show photos from the book, and I like to see what the patterns are ahead of time. It’s a great idea.

  29. Becky

    It’s so true! One of the reasons I rarely buy craft books online (the ones I have are usually gifts) is because I want to see the photos first. It always helps when I see that a blogger has posted photos of a book they’ve just gotten, and given input. Really helps people like me, who are far away, to decide on the craft book or not. Viva internet technology!

  30. mrspao

    I love that book by Nancy Bush – love the photo link!

  31. Ragan

    Wow! I knew I had seen your pictures somewhere else out there other than your blog. :) Thank you for sharing!

  32. Jamie

    What a great idea! I may have to post a few things!

  33. Suzanne

    Very cool feature! Thanks for posting.

  34. Mom

    You are bursting with info and good ideas. I am so proud of you! XXOO

  35. Amber

    I love that feature of Amazon. Thanks for posting your pics! They are always so helpful when you can see actual knitted items from the book.

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