Engagement + Marketing

‘A Lean-Back Experience’

As a child, I used to get scolded by my mother for spending summers with my nose buried in a book, rather than outside playing.

So, Mom, today I listened to you. I took my head out of my work and went outside — of my comfort zone, that is. I spent this morning attending the TH(ink) E-Readers 2010 Summit at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. I may not own a Kindle or any of the other 50 (yes, 50) e-readers out there, but I can read the writing on the digital wall. Experts say that in the next ten years, the e-reader market will become a $25-billion business.

Books have already made the transition. We have a little ways to go before magazines migrate to e-readers (beyond offering only plain content in black-and-white type). But soon, technology will make it possible to view magazines on e-readers in color, with images, graphics, and more. To make it, as speaker John Paris, director of mobile products for Time Inc., said, less of a “lean-forward experience” (think actively searching for information on the Internet) and more of a “lean-back experience.” The value of a book or magazine, he said, “is that it is a lean-back mentality. We open ourselves up to an immersive experience.”

The prospect of an immersive e-reader Convene experience excites me. Maybe that’s my biggest takeaway from today’s summit. That, and the fact that Convene needs to be where our readers are — and to anticipate where they might be going.

Michelle Russell

Michelle Russell is editor in chief of Convene.