Larry Bonura's Blog

Random thoughts filling my brain

Bitextualism

with 2 comments

Frank Romano, professor emeritus at RIT School of Print Media and author of 45 books, writes a column, “Frankly Speaking,” in which he presents his views on the publishing industry. I’ve been reading his writings for more than 25 years. In the January/February 2010 edition of Book Business Magazine his column is titled “Are You Bitextual.”

In essence, the subhead claims, the “glut of new formats and distribution options requires publishers to be increasingly nimble—willing to meet book buyers’ changing habits.” Romano writes: “My feeling is that many publishers have difficulty dealing with all these formats (offset, digital, e-book) at one time. They will just have to be more bitextual.” He says that the “entire marketplace will have to deal with new book formats and new book distribution,” depending upon the readers’ desire: whether to download an ebook, go to a bookstore to buy an already-printed hardcover, or wait at the store for an on-demand version to be printed.

I was tickled by the term bitextual. Thought it was clever and so original. I did a quick search on Bing and found 1,780 results. Well, I didn’t think it was so original and clever after that search. Here are some of the ways the term has been used:

  • Google has a patent (#6438515 filed on 28 Jun 1999) for “bitextual, bifocal language learning.” It’s a “language learning system for presenting a text in a first language to be learned by a person, the text in the first language being presented in a bitextual format to facilitate learning the first language.”
  • There is a case note on a CSI Forensics web site.
  • There’s a website called Stargate Bitextual, the place where everybody in the gateverse can follow their own preferences.
  • The Urban Dictionary defines bitextual as: When you are in a text conversation with someone, and you suddenly find yourself in 2 separate conversations with the same person.
  • James Kendrick says writes in his blog, jkontherun, about the increasing frustrations of a bitextual (multi-platform) technology writer, because he uses both the Windows and Mac systems: “I am a technology writer who works heavily with both platforms, bitextual if you will, and I am more productive and get a more gratifying experience on the Mac.”

And these are the findings on just the first page of the search. The search is the thing that brought me back down to earth as far as the term “bitextual” was concerned. It broadened my knowledge about the term and told me how widespread it was being used. It’s not that new and is used to describe more things that I thought possible. This is what gives the digital book a new dimension that you won’t find in a printed book: you can search and find precisely what you want. I don’t know that that diminishes the need for an index, but it does show that it’s a value-added feature that makes me a firm believer in the digital world. Just about every book born today is born digital. It’s the printed version that demands a change in the digital primordial origins. I say, let the book stay digital.

Given that, I am bitextual, and proud of it. I am probably one of the few people left who both read a daily newspaper (Santa Fe New Mexican) and read it’s online digital version. Proof that I’m bitextual.

By the way, I Binged the term bitextualism and didn’t get a hit.  Did I coin a new word?

What do you think of the word bitextual?  I’d like to hear your views.

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2 Responses

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  1. thanks !! very helpful post!

    LCD TV

    13 February 2010 at 22:18

  2. You you should edit the blog name Bitextualism Larry Bonura’s Blog to something more catching for your content you make. I enjoyed the blog post nevertheless.

    Pointer Men's Basketball

    30 October 2010 at 13:21


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