PieceWork for the iPad

I've been immersed recently in two remarkable historical novels by Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. Set in sixteenth-century England, they deal with the political and sexual intrigues surrounding Henry VIII and his first two unfortunate wives, the deaths of Cardinal Wolsey and many, many others, and the dissolution of the Roman Catholic Church in England. If that sounds dry, just believe me—it's not!

PieceWork's July/August 2012 iPad issue.

A minor plot line has to do with printed English-language Bibles being smuggled into England for the masses—for people who have never before held a book in their hands. Possessing one of these books was a capital crime, a heresy. I imagine common people of the early Renaissance holding one of these books, tracing out letters and words in a language they can understand, and feeling wonder and awe. I think of this as I read about it on my iPad, a device I wouldn't have even dreamed of ten years ago. Please understand, I LOVE books. Printed, bound, touchable, page-turnable books. But I have to admit, I love my e-reader, too. Love the backlight, love the enlarged type, love the way color photos gleam on the screen. Love the way I can tote a few hundred books and scores of magazines around with me in a small package weighing less than a pound and a half. Talk about wonder and awe!

Chinese Blue-and-White Motifs to Embroider by Marie Vescial Risbeck.

So what does this have to do with PieceWork? Aside from its being a "bible" of traditional needlework? Well, now you can get PieceWork on the iPad. (We're finding that a growing number of our readers have such devices—47% and climbing.) We were a little skeptical in the beginning, but the magazine looks gorgeous in that medium, especially the photos, which you can zoom in on and study in detail. Even the horizontal format looks good.

Those of us who publish books and magazines feel that we're on the cusp of a new "reformation," as we create simultaneously for the printing press and for the virtual whatever-you-call-it. Happily, we don't face the rack for our efforts (except the one at the newsstand).