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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Signs

Kelli Russell Agodon was talking about signs, as in portents and messages from the universe, namely a shooting star. It made me think about the way I sat and watched a dazzle of earthbound shooting stars while I was on the East Coast, as a hover of fireflies over a lawn became very personal somehow.

In other signs, more the standard kind, Publishers Weekly is for sale. This publishing industry giant is on the auction block, and it seems to me another omen of the transformation of print publishing into online content. My Sunday San Francisco Chronicle has taken another tack: it's shrinking. I mean literally. The paper that used to doorstop my breakfast table to the point that I wondered if it might tip the table is now a dainty, tabloid size thing. It's hardly larger than the annoying ad wrappers I get in my mailbox. Meanwhile, the Chron's online presence is swelling. They've added a new virtual daily paper you can subscribe to as a subscriber to the print version. If any newspaper is going to figure out how to survive, my guess is it will be the Chron, which is perched at the edge of Silicon Valley.

Will someone please figure out how we should read magazines and journals if we don't want to sit at a computer all day? I know, I know: Kindle. But it's still a screen. Paper has to have an afterlife, post-Internet. We like paper, it's tactile, it pages, we can read it longer without eyestrain. It can support cool fonts. Need I elaborate?
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