During last month’s LocWorld event in Berlin my company Skrivanek, in common with the other exhibitors, offered visitors to our stand a variety of freebies, giveaways call them what you will. As well as the standard pens, notepads, mints etc. we had a couple of new additions. The popularity of one of these newcomers got me thinking.
For those of you who don’t know LocWorld (formerly Localization World) is the industry event for all that is new in the translation and software localization world. It takes place three times a year across three continents. By its very nature the participants tend to be at the cutting edge of technology and anybody with a mobile device more than a year old had better keep it in their pocket ( no names being mentioned here 🙂 ).
So, what was this free gift that so attracted the interest of these state of the art delegates? The answer, a good old fashioned bookmark (a device for not losing your page in a book). Perhaps I should explain for younger readers that a “book” is a data storage device which consists of two thicker pieces of paper (“covers”) containing thinner pieces of paper on which text is printed (“pages”). The usual size of such a device is a few hundred pages, it is portable and does not require a signal or power source.
Admittedly the Skrivanek bookmarks were particularly attractive, with a magnet to hold the device in place and colorful artwork reminiscent of the Dutch artist Mondrian (or so I’m told 🙂 ). They moved like the proverbial hot cakes off our stand during the two days in Berlin and now presumably are to be found in the homes and offices of translators and localizers across the globe.
What could explain this unusual phenomenon? I have a few theories; the bookmark is an attractive keepsake and could make an interesting talking point on social occasions or perhaps people will keep them to show their mystified grandchildren in years to come. However, the theory which personally gives me most comfort is as follows: after a hard day in the virtual, digital on line world and being loaded down with Kindles and tablets etc. the movers and shakers of the industry retire to the privacy of their own homes for a good read with a real live book and their Skrivanek bookmark of course!