Dec 14, 2009

why what matters now just won't

I love Seth Godin as much as the next guy, but I’ll just come out and say it – there’s a 99% chance that I won’t read What Matters Now. It has nothing to do with the content – there are people in there that I enjoy and respect. Instead, it has everything to do with the form.

What Matters Now is distributed as an “ebook,” which is a fancy way of saying “a PDF.” This particular PDF is 82 pages long (one page per contributor), where some pages are designed as slides with illustrations, and some pages contain a micro-essay laid out in a two-column format. The only convenient PDF reading device happens to be a PC, and the likelihood of me shutting out the world and spending a couple of sessions with my laptop to read this ebook are slim to none (especially when there’s so much compelling YouTube content out there). And offline consumption isn’t really an option: I’m not really sure I want to chew up 82 pages worth of paper and printer ink on it, and I’ve learned that Amazon’s PDF conversion service for the Kindle will puke all over the two-column layout.

This should have been a website. Each essay with its own permalink. With interlinking between pieces. With hyperlinking out to the rest of the web. With search. And a table of contents. And commenting, favoriting and simple social sharing tools. And it could have been a beautiful thing to experience – on the web. Instead, it’s a file that I won’t experience, sitting in my Downloads folder.