Book Designer Travel Day

by | Oct 14, 2011

I’m traveling, so I’m going to show you a few of the things I saw on the way today.

One of the great things about flying out of San Francisco is the pretty new Long Term Parking building a couple of miles from the terminals. I wish I had a photo of it but it’s great.

The thing is, if you are gone for 4 days or a week or two, how do you remember where you put your vehicle? And the planners of the building didn’t help much. Where I parked it said “6c” on the column near me. I took this shot to help me when I got back:

Travel day

That’s great, but as I walked all the way to the other side of the building to get the elevator, I noticed every pillar said “6c”. What’s up with that?

QR Codes, Yeah!

QR codes are the first attempt at creating a point of connection between the digital and physical worlds that might actually catch on. I’m seeing them everywhere now. Business cards, retail product shelves, meeting ID badges.

In Compass Books at San Francisco Airport, a pretty good-sized store for an airport terminal, there were many popular books with shelf hangers like this one for Stacy Schiff’s Cleopatra:

Travel Day

This QR code will take you to the Google eBookstore where you can buy the ePub version of the e-book.

This is a program Google started a few months ago to reach out to indie bookstores and give them at least some way to direct customers to a link that will pay them a small referral fee.

I think this is a terrific use of QR codes. You’ve got the book right in front of you to examine, but if you’d rather have the e-book—or you’d like both—you don’t have to feel guilty that you’ve taken a sale away from an indie. And you don’t have to be inconvenienced, you can do it all right while you’re standing there.

Mind Mapping to Go

It seems flying these days means waiting, but with my iPad I was able to do some mind mapping right there in the concourse while crowds streamed by. Neat.

Travel Day

Are You Serious?

Sometimes we northern Californians seem to think we have the best of everything. After all, with Silicon Valley just 20 minutes away, why wouldn’t we?

But at the airport, the free WiFi is painful. After wading through about 5 screens, each of which loads verrrrry slowly, you are informed:

Travel Day

Well, if that’s what it feels like to be a member, I think I’ll pass, thanks. This shows what can happen when you put your brand on something that’s completely outside your control. It looks like an advertising opportunity, but the experience is more of brand-busting.

They Are Everywhere

I know all this is old hat to you people who travel all the time, but I was struck again today how the smartphone has taken over people’s consciousness.

Everywhere, as soon as there’s a lull of a few seconds, out come the phones (we used to call these “personal communicators” in old sci fi films).

And you don’t have to look far to see someone, or a few someones, with Kindles. They are popular. As the lights go down on the plane, the little slabs come out, along with the iPads, all softly glowing up and down the cabin.

Travel Day

Monthly e-Book Cover Design Awards

Just an FYI, we’ve been inundated with e-book covers in response to August’s posting. There are almost 200 fiction covers alone. Holy cow.

You’ll start seeing them on Sunday, but there are so many I’m going to spread them out into next week. There’s an amazing variety of covers in there, and I can’t wait to see what you think of them. It will be fun to pick some winners. Our new badges are in from the Sidebar Badge Factory, so we are good to go. See you on Sunday.

Photo by xlibber

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. Delaney Diamond

    I realize I wasn’t specific. I was referring to the QR Codes to get books.

  2. Delaney Diamond

    Wow, the future is here. I haven’t seen anything like this yet, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time.

  3. Roger C. Parker

    Dear Joel:
    Thanks for the “tour,” but, more important, thanks for the photo of the QR code you discovered at the airport bookstore.

    For the first time, I “get it,” i.e., I can understand the relevance of QR codes for authors and subject area experts.

    Thanks for sharing that photo! Like they say, l photo equals a 1,000 Googles, or something.

  4. Betsy Gordon

    Joel — I was vastly amused by your “They Are Everywhere” paragraph! I noticed the same thing when I was traveling to Toronto in August; smartphones coming out of the woodwork, practically. And people walking along the concourse, dragging their little suitcases-on-wheels with one hand and holding their phone in the other hand, talking up a storm! This goes beyond multitasking: let’s see — (a) walk, (b) make sure you’re going in the right direction and looking for the right gate, (c) pull your suitcase, (d) hold your smartphone, and (e) carry on a rational conversation. That’s worse than rubbing your head and patting your stomach simultaneously!

    I confess, rather abashedly, to being one of those people who whipped out a “little slab” as soon as I got myself strapped into my seat. I do love my Kindle for travel, for reading in bed, for waiting in the doctor’s/dentist’s office. But I still buy tons of books on Amazon, and usually have two going at the same time… plus whatever I’m reading on my Kindle.

    All in all, I got a terrific kick out of this blog post! Fly safely, Joel, and have a great trip!


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