Craig ModAccording to urban legend, a fundamental rule in Italian driving states, “It doesn’t matter what’s behind you.” At a time when the road ahead is shrouded by fog, does it matter what’s behind us in publishing?

Writer and start-up advisor Craig Mod believes the book business should reflect on the past, even as it contemplates the future. As a keynote speaker for the recent Yale Publishing Course, Mod asserted that the present, too, should have its say.

“Four years ago, when I first came to this conference, the iPad had just been released. We were very emotional, then, about whether this [new device was] going to displace all physical books,” Mod remembers. “It was hard to have a rational discussion about where does paper fall in the spectrum of books and how does paper affect our reading experience? Today, I think we finally have enough context to make meaningful statements about the import of physical books versus digital books.”

A writer with a strong interest in design, startups, and multi-cultural identity, Craig Mod is based in Tokyo, but frequently can be found in New York City. Currently, a staff writer for The Message, a publication on Medium, a company where he is also a formal advisor. Mod has written for New ScientistThe New YorkerVirginia Quarterly ReviewThe New York TimesCNN.comCodex: A Journal of TypographyA List Apart, and other publications. He is also a member of General Electric’s Digital Advisory Board.

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