What’s New in the California Wine World: Chatting with Tom Silberkleit, award-winning editor and publisher for Wine House Press in Sonoma. www.Californiafinewineries.com. His books have been featured in USA Today, People, and on Good Morning America.
Let me start by saying it takes a LOT to convert me from wine to vodka…no that isn’t right…to convert me from reading a book open in my hands to reading from an electronic device. I love the smell of print and I want to touch the photographs. All that has changed now and it’s changed over one book: The California Directory of Fine Wineries, Central Coast edition, published by Tom Silberkleit.
In a “snapshot” (Photographer Robert Holmes does outstanding work!) this is how Tom converted me…over a hot pastrami sandwich at Art’s Deli in Studio City with no wine added at all:
- My first impression when Tom turned his iPad, aka tablet, around to show me his new eBook, the photos just pop when they are viewed on a digital device. Tom said, “On tablet screens these images are just beautiful” and “they are even crisper on the newest iPad and the Kindle Fire.”
- So with the brand-spanking new Central Coast edition we started by looking over the contents page; here you would just click on the chapter you want to read and it’s brought up instantaneously. (Note: It will be a slightly different viewing experience for each type of device/reader. These ebooks are optimized for use on Kindles, iPads, Nooks, Androids, and other tablets and e-readers. They can be used on all breeds of smartphones too, although, for some, the experience may not be ideal due to the smaller screens.)
- No fake virtual page turning noise.
- The sidebar section that lists details such as websites, address, tasting fees, hours, annual production, nearby attractions, what varietals they serve, etc. – is bigger on a tablet than in the book. And if that’s not big enough, like any computer, you can increase the font. Can’t do that with a hardback.
- Winery email addresses in the book are hyperlinked, even for androids and iPhones. So if you see an email address you can just click on it and WHAM off your email goes.
- Website addresses for wineries are hyperlinked too. Very convenient, Tom said, when you are suffering with a “Hangover from the night before and just want to press a button, LOL.”
- Readers can highlight text – in several color choices – if you want to remember a certain passage.
- Use the search capability to find out, say, which wineries in the book make a Zinfandel or who has a cafe. Then a list pops up and gives you choices to click on. Way better than doing a random search on the Internet. Tom said it “Sifts out choice spots to visit.”
- And, like some email programs, you can highlight a word you are not familiar with and pull up a dictionary.
- There are these swell colored bookmarks to save a page.
- The winery maps are downloadable so you can print them out.
- Tom said if you are “passionate about your tablet” you will love this.
- As far as any other wine books now available as eBooks, I don’t believe that they usually come with photographs – but these have hundreds!
- If you have the hardcover editions of the directory, the ebooks will follow the same page-for-page format. Tom said that their branding for the series is important so the overall design for the electronic books is the same as the original hardcover editions.
- There is a “Back to” field on lower left of every page that will take you back to the page you were on last so browsing is uber-easy.
- It took eight months to develop. As this ebook is fully functional it is not simply a series of PDF files. Each version required some rather specific coding to conform to the various e-readers and tablets on the market.
- This eBook is interactive…which is kind of fun!
- People also like the eBooks because the pricing is great. You can get this one on-line from the Amazon Kindle Store, iTunes, or Barnes and Noble. Remember, it’s optimized and designed primarily for tablets. However, Tom said, “The retail hardcover books are pretty darn good too!”
- The California Directory of Fine Wineries Central Coast edition has been the number one best selling Santa Barbara travel book on Amazon – off and on as of November!
- The California Directory of Fine Wineries, 6th edition for Napa/Sonoma/Mendocino is now available on-line in ebook format too!
Also in Hardback
- The wineries selected to highlight in these books are not based on Tom’s own palate alone but the combined palates of several people: respected winemakers, fine wine sellers, and his stable of writers.
- Tom looks for what he loves and what others might love. Beautiful destinations, delicious wines, good hospitality and more. He visits a winery the first time by “standing at back of tasting room and watching” to see how staff members interact with the customers.
- Added to the back of the Central Coast book, in both the eBook and the hardcover, is a new index by varietal. (Suits my moodiness for different types of wines!)
- The Introduction section is great for wine 101ers. The Central Coast edition has a couple of new essays: Modern Stoppers is one; and another is called the Food and Wine Connection that discusses the farm to fresh, farmers market and BBQs so prevalent in the Central Coast.
- About 50 percent of the listings are new with each new edition; with several landmark wineries that are always going to be strong anchor points.
- The books will tell you who requires an appointment for a tasting or tour.
- I found several wineries that are new for me and I would now like to visit, especially in Sonoma and Mendocino.
- The directories are simply about the top quality wineries and great destinations. To which Tom concluded, “OMG I love all of these places.”