“Gutenberg Meets Google” – An afternoon at Open Book

Oftentimes when meeting publishing folks and writers outside of the Midwest, the Twin Cities literary scene comes into conversation.  For anyone in the “know” – the Twin Cities provides a vibrant writing community, one that has thrived in regard to publishing.   Especially since many well-known writers have roots in Minnesota,  in addition to the many respected independent publishers based here. 

Todays’ event at Open Book, “Gutenberg Meets Google,” confirmed (yet again) why it’s a pleasure to call the Twin Cities my home.     

Kudos to John Jodzio and the publishing panel today!  The panel’s guests included Matt Ryan of Lowbrow Press, Ben Barnhart of Milkweed Editions, Matt Rasmussen of Birds LLC, and the wonderful ladies from Paper Darts Literary Arts Magazine (So nice seeing Meghan, Jamie and Regan!)  It was an informative panel, and interesting to see their various perspectives on the future of publishing, and what they’re doing currently.  From celebrating the potential of more graphics, more irreverance, more interactivity, and the changing of tone as ebooks increase in popularity; to discussing the impact of Social Media; to the celebration of the book as an “object” vs. being merely a “presence” – the panel provided a meaty discussion, and was well-moderated by John.

Shortly after this panel, Jamie, Meghan and Regan took the stage and gave a presentation on Paper Darts.  I loved the parallel of the Octopus, in regard to their “branding.”  It has three hearts, produces ink, and has many tenticles.  What a great allegory in regard to the mission of Paper Darts!  Other wonderful notes, which I believe any of us in pubishing should remember is”  the need to remove the proverbial stick from the “butt” of publishing.  For Paper Darts, who has published over 150 writers so far, this is already being accomplished.  

Can the same can be said for the rest of us?   Getting published includes the ability to write, to network, to engage readers, and to help other writers reach their dreams.  Right?  So let’s keep the communication lines wide open; be it through our websites, books, Twitter, in person and by any other means.  Everyone will benefit in the end.

The finale was a screening of Typeface, produced and directed by Justine Nagan.  I could ramble incessantly about how much I enjoyed this documentary.  Instead of giving all the information away, here’s my advice.  Go. See. The. Film.  Is that clear enough?  If you like books, graphic design, the future of book publishing, and/or print presses – I’m very confident you’ll enjoy and appreciate this documentary.


My new purchase afterwards - so excited to frame it!

Overall a memorable afternoon that’ll I be talking about for a very long time. Thanks to everyone who made it possible!!!

Side note: one of the statistics mentioned during the Paper Darts presentation was absolutely heartbreaking in regard to our reading habits.  Granted it’s something we all can work on.  On average every American watches TWO hours of television/day – but only reads 7 minutes/day.    This seems like an easy statistic to change, to unbalance, to seesaw the opposite direction.  Wouldn’t you agree?

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