By: Stephanie S. Smith, Managing Editor
Today I’m excited to share an interview with NOVOInk, a company on the cutting edge of eBook technology with a heart for Christ and His Kingdom. Thank you, Jon Hirst, for joining us and introducing the exciting work of NOVOInk! Visit their website or follow them on Twitter, you’ll be glad you did!
Moody Publishers: People seem to either love or hate the digitalization of books and e-readers, but NOVOInk sees this new development as a positive revolution. Can you tell us about your vision for eBooks?
NOVOInk: Our team at NOVO Ink loves books – no matter what shape they come in. Unlike many, we are not predicting the death of our good friend the paper book. At the same time, we see so many ways that eBooks can empower readers and enhance reading in general. We recently launched a site called www.DiscoverYourE.com to highlight the benefits of eReading.
We see eBooks as a more practical way for people who are very mobile to keep up with reading. As they commute, wait for soccer practice to be over or fly home from those meetings, they can be reading and learning. Also, with the abilities to link books to websites and resources, a book becomes a launching pad to learning rather than an isolated experience. One of the great things to do is link the Bible verses in a book to an online Bible like Biblegateway.com in order to give readers instant access to the passage in question.
Another great benefit to eBooks that we are excited about is the access to content. I can buy a book anywhere and access content wherever I am. This means that when you are at your Bible study, talking with a friend, or alone for the first time all day, you can pull out your book and share it with others or dive in and keep reading.
We see eBooks as a huge value for Christian readers because books are a key part of our spiritual growth and discipleship. We hope to help believers plug into eReading and expand the amount of reading as they fit it into their digital lives.
Moody Publishers: You’ve said before that the eBook is one way of moving toward the Incarnation. What do you mean by that?
NOVOInk:The last century was all about mass production and efficiency. Through the last 100 years we got really good at mass producing books and pushing them out to as many people as would buy them. But in that process we lost the humanity of connecting with a thought leader through their writing. The author became just another anonymous voice out in the marketplace of ideas. This is one of the reasons why it is harder to keep people’s interest.
But with the turn of the millennium and the focus on authentic communication that we are seeing today locally in new forms of community and online through social media, people are expecting more from books than simply an idea delivered on the right paper stock. They want a connection with the author and the ability to connect with others thinking through the same ideas.
EBooks are moving towards providing that interaction. Take the Enhanced Edition of Crazy Love that we launched earlier this year with David C. Cook Publishers as an example. In this book there are links to Francis Chan’s devotionals, videos of him sharing stories, audio clips of his thoughts and links to examples he gives in the book. By the end of reading the enhanced edition, you feel a much deeper connection to Francis than you would have otherwise. You saw his house, you met some of the people he mentioned, you visited the website for the book, etc.
We are not so much in love with the technology of eBooks as we are excited about what eBooks can do to reconnect authors and readers in ways that will lead to life transformation.
Moody Publishers: Technology can be isolating as it can also be community-driven. How does NOVOInk bridge the gap between technology and relationships?
NOVOInk:It’s all about intentionality. NOVO Ink partners with Moody Publishers and other publishers to distribute their books on the Zinio platform, but we also work directly with authors who have out of print titles. We become their publisher to help bring these wonderful books back. One example is Calvin Miller who has written countless books over the years that are loved by many. It is so exciting to bring back these powerful ideas using this new technology.
Recently we launched a new program called NOVO University to train our authors on how to be intentional about creating community around their content. It is one thing to broadcast your message, but another thing to build connections with readers. We believe that ideas don’t really gain steam and impact lives unless those connections happen.
Moody Publishers: Do you see new ministry opportunities arising out of this new way of reading and communicating?
NOVOInk: Most definitely! One of the greatest ministry applications for eBooks is in the training/discipleship area. Because eBooks can be linked to the web, you can keep your training content fresh because the web content can always be updated with the latest information. This allows your book content to remain evergreen. Because the content is mobile, you can deliver it to learners anywhere and at any time. Imagine getting training materials downloaded to your iPad ahead of an all-day training event you are going to attend? Also imagine how these might help with pre-training assignments and post-training activities.
Another significant ministry opportunity is the access to information just in time. We have all been sitting in Starbucks counseling a friend on a certain issue and wishing we had access to that quote or that idea in the book sitting at home. This way, we can pull out our mobile device, open the book and show them the section we are referring to.
How do you use eBook technology to enhance your relationships and ministry? Has your opinion of eReading changed since its first appearance?