Monday, May 08, 2006

The Podcast Flipout

Curses! Foiled again. I was about to read an interview with writer du jour Etgar Keret on Nextbook, when I discovered it was available only as a podcast.

OK, I know everybody loves podcasts. Tivo for radio. Democratizing the airwaves. Personal narrowcasting. Point-to-point multicasting. Embedded ads. Whatever. Look, I like listening to the radio while driving, but when my eyes are free to scan a website, I'd rather just read, for the simple reason that nuance, background music, sound effects, and all the lovely benefits podcasts and radio offer are generally less important than my ability to read as carefully or as swiftly as the material warrants and my schedule allows. I don't have 15 minutes to listen to every last detail of your vision or your author interview. And am I going to take along a 15-minute interview for my walk or bike ride? Er, no, probably not.

What's driving me nuts lately is this trendy, slavish, contagious editorial policy that dictates selected content be available only as an audio file. WTF? Is transcription too costly? I'm busy -- let me skim and decide if the piece is even worth my attention. Tease the podcast's unique features (Hear Etgar's tummy growl! Listen to Etgar whistle!) in the accompanying text if you want, but don't give up on readers ... lest they give up on you.

Y'know, I've read enough about Etgar lately. I'll skip Nextbook's version of the author clusterfuck and just read something else. Harrumph!

By the way, I heard Etgar read and talk last week while he was doing an NYC circuit to support his latest collection, "The Nimrod Flipout," and he was great. He shared the stage with his Israeliterati predecessor David Grossman, whose work I like less, but who was nevertheless incandescent in his closing remarks on why Israel needs peace.

1 comment:

Gertrude said...

Hey there,

just wanted to let you know you find can plenty of Etgar's writing on nextbook - he's one of their featured columnists. As for your disappointment with audio, podcasts aren't lazy-man's print pieces. They are a different way of communicating information. Listen to the David Berman podcast on Nextbook and you'll see what I mean.

-Gertrude