Experiments (and a Giveaway)

I spend a lot of time reading and thinking and talking about books and how books get made and how books get to readers.  It’s easy to see that the publishing industry is changing dramatically.  It’s harder to figure out how to navigate the new landscape in a way that is fair and practical and interesting and still pays the bills.

The balancing act is made much easier by talking to other people who are also trying to figure it all out.  I have these conversations with other members of the Visionary Authors group started by Cat Bordhi.  We all work together to try and figure out this complicated dance.  One of the people I’ve particularly enjoyed getting to know is Janel Laidman.

Janel has been experimenting with ways to get patterns to knitters for as long as I’ve been knitting.  Her first book, The Eclectic Sole, was the first sock book I ever bought way back when I was a wee baby sock knitter.  Her second, The Enchanted Sole, was just as delightful.

Given her past projects, it is no surprise that her latest undertaking is something special.  I told you about The Sock Report when it first came out in electronic form back in June.  I’m delighted to see that it’s now out in in physical form.  Janel’s done something quite remarkable here.  She’s pulled together work from a wide array of designers into one cohesive collection and presented it beautifully.  Just as impressive, she’s done it while paying her designers very fairly (a challenge many other publishers have not met nearly as well), and while exploring some of the new formats now available.  If you like instant gratification and you want lots of bang for your buck, you can buy the full electronic version and start knitting right away.  If you like just one or two patterns, you can get them individually.  And if you (like me) still cherish good old-fashioned paper and ink, now you can get a paper copy.

And the paper copy itself is lovely.  It reads as something between a book and a magazine.  Sturdier than your average magazine (nice heavy cover and paper and a good binding), but more portable than your average book (slim enough to fit in your knitting bag easily).

I was lucky enough to be one of the designers in the inaugural issue, so I’ve got a copy of this lovely new book on my shelf right now.  And, because Janel is awesome and because I like you all very much, I’ve got an extra copy to give away to one of you too.  Just leave a comment telling me what sort of format you tend to prefer (paper, electronic, something else I don’t know about yet) and why.  I’ll leave comments open through Saturday evening and announce a winner on Monday.