E-publishing Woes

I am starting to feel like a reading Luddite. I like books. I like newspapers. I still subscribe to the daily delivery of the New York Times and I read a good part of it each day. It seems, though, that much of the rest of the world is going the way of the computer screen. Reports of declines in book sales and newspaper subscribers escalate every day.

It’s not that I don’t go to on-line news sites. In fact, it takes less time to read my New York Times each day because so much of it is old news—I had already read the stories on cnn.com or the NYTimes.com the day before. But I still like the feel of the paper in my hands. I am not in the least interested in electronic books. They are surely in our futures, but I’ll resist as long as I can.

One of the dreams of electronic publications is that it will save paper. I do hope that is the case, but so far it doesn’t seem to be working. I know that I print most of the materials sent to me by organizations that are trying to cut printing costs. One of our Deacons said that his company found they increased printing costs by 20% when they tried to go paperless. Instead of centralized printing all the employees did it themselves from small printers.

I do think it is important to cut down on paper use, and I’m sure that as we get use to reading everything on our computer screens then the amount of printing will decline. I hope so.

Churches are also climbing on the bandwagon of electronic publishing. A pastor friend reports that his church is going paperless for their newsletter and church bulletin. The newsletter is sent via email and the hymns and prayers for worship are projected on big screens in the sanctuary. Their motivation is primarily to save money in tough economic times.

As many of you know I attempted to send our church newsletter, The Congregator, via email this past week. I requested feedback about this change of transmission technique. What I got was an inbox filled with complaints that my attachment either wasn’t there or couldn’t be opened. This is what happens when a Luddite attempts to jump from the wading pool into the technology deep-end.

I think I have resolved the attachment problems and will try again next month to send The Congregator to those who request the electronic version. If you are willing to take the chance of receiving it intact and useable please send me an email so I can put you on the list.

I try to keep up. But, don’t worry, I don’t see the elimination of Sunday’s bulletin anytime in the future.

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