GUEST POST: Thomas Shafer (aka, the Hubster)

My Hubster is one all-around-very-cool-super-handsome-awfully-sweet-terribly-smart guy.  When I told him I was lining up guest posts to help me cover the blog during the first few months of Little Miss Took’s life, he quickly piped up, saying,

“I can help you with that!”

And so, my partner in crime has become my partner in blogging.

The Hubster works in a unique field – he specializes in (among other techie things) high-end two-channel audio.  Really cool stuff that will literally change the way you listen.  I feel like I’ve re-discovered my ears because of what he chose to do with his life.

Because of his profession, he’s had a front row seat to much of what happened when the musical world went digital, and he’s got some interesting insight to the change the literary world is undergoing – the digitalization of books.

Read on for his thoughts and opinions!


I’ve seen music media go through a certain kind of life cycle.  Back in the ’60s and ’70s, the only choice was gramophone records.  Then, round about the late ’80s, CDs came along and most everyone dove head first into the wonderful world of digital playback.  

What is amazing to me is that nowadays, it seems people want both!  

Digital music is still the medium of choice for most people, BUT a lot of folks are remembering the value of good ‘ol records.  I hear folks say..

‘I love the convenience of my iPod, but really enjoy the feel of a record in my hand’.

If you are one of us that agrees that Music Matters, I bet you would probably agree with that statement…I know I sure do.

So here is the observation.

It seems that books are about to go through the same cycle.  Just as little as a couple of years ago, if you wanted a book, your only option was to get it on paper.  But now, e-readers are literally on the verge of changing this to where you might not ever read your favorite new book on paper.

Do you think we can cut to the chase here?  Is it possible that book publishers could learn from music media’s life cycle and avoid the 10-30 year experiment it went thru to discover that people want both analog and digital?  I can just hear it now…

‘I love the convenience of my e-reader, but really enjoy the feel of a book in my hand’ 

Here is what I suggest.

Book publishers, with every new book being published, put it out there in BOTH ANALOG AND DIGITAL.  Put a hard-bound book on the shelf with a digital copy of it inside the front cover!

Music labels…with every new album you are going to produce, put it out there in BOTH ANALOG AND DIGITAL.  Put a vinyl record on the shelf with a digital copy of it inside the cover!

This is what the consumer wants!


I think he makes a great point.   It’s one of my very favorite things, to open up a fresh vinyl album – esp. when a digital copy came along with it.  After all, a turntable in my car just isn’t practical.  🙂  For me, it’s the same with books.  Personally, I would LOVE to be able to buy my books with a digital copy tucked inside.  I love the convenience of an e-reader, but nothing really compares to snuggling up on the couch with the weight of a book in my hands, and the smell of paper and ink in my nose.  People are analog beings, and we’re always going to be drawn to analog things, no matter how convenient digital might be.

What are your thoughts, opinions?  Let ’em fly!


20 thoughts on “GUEST POST: Thomas Shafer (aka, the Hubster)

      • mgmillerbooks says:

        I didn’t know that. Was just lamenting the other day the passing of my old turntable…and all those Zeppelin albums 😦 Just not the same anymore.

  1. gingercalem says:

    You’re absolutely right, Thomas! We all want the best of both sides and I don’t see why we can’t have it all. We are rediscovering vinyl in our house because my 14 year old (as you know) just got a turntable for his birthday and he’s already collected a lot of vinyl. Now our evenings are filled with the sounds of some old time classic rock. Thank you for your wise recommendation for the turntable. He LOVES it!

    • Thomas Shafer (@thomasrshafer) says:

      I am so glad your son is getting into ‘flippin the wax’! Since I get asked ten times a week “do people still listen to vinyl?”, I’ve been using you guys as the example of a definitive HECK YAH!

      BTW, make sure you guys find a local store that is celebrating National Record Store Day this coming Saturday ( has a participating store locator). I could see your son really digging some of the special events. A lot of participating stores will be selling Special Edition vinyl only available for sale on RSDay!

    • Thomas Shafer (@thomasrshafer) says:

      Hey Susie. You are right, you do have to download the digital copy to your eBook. But since it is just a digital file, you can store it on any typical mass storage device (USB flash drive, CD, etc). So stores, in theory, could have that digital copy on a flash drive neatly inlaid in the books cover or something like that. You’d take it home, put that digital file on your computer, and then upload it to your eBook.

  2. Marcy Kennedy says:

    People said I was brave for leaving my blog in the hands of my husband while I was away at a conference, but he proved that my confidence was well placed, and I think the same has shown true here today. Love this post 🙂

  3. CC MacKenzie says:

    Hehehe! Now this is teamwork I can get behind.

    Hello Thomas. Great job and what a brilliant idea about digital download on books! Get that idea out there, big boy, and sort the crazy world of publishing out. Goodness knows it needs someone with a bit of sense! And we can certainly have it all, why not?

    Love this post and congratulations to you and Myndi for creating the stunning Alice. You have a wonderful wife.

  4. K.B. Owen says:

    Welcome, Thomas! Nice job taking over for Myndi, aka, the little woman, LOL! One of my problems with ebooks (which I love) is that when I go to conventions and get to meet my fab authors, THEY CAN’T SIGN THE BOOK! Because it’s on my Nook. So then, I have to buy it again in paper! There’s gotta be an app for that, LOL.

    Great post, and thanks for being the go-to guy!

  5. Kecia Adams says:

    When I was in Charlottesville (home of UVA) last week I noticed all the used/rare bookstores, but people were reading on Kindles at the cafes and whatnot. I think that’s definitely the way it’s going–books become art pieces sort of while the business of reading is done mostly digitally. Thanks, Thomas & Myndi. 🙂

  6. Tameri Etherton says:

    Blu-Ray does this too with a DVD copy included. I always thought that was cool since the DVD player in the car won’t take Blu-Ray but I prefer Blu-Ray at home. Dilemma solved!

    Now, if only you could convince publishers this is the way to go. It would save a lot of hassle in the long run.

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