11/16/2008

Coming Changes in Publishing

There are massive changes coming in publication... what do you think about them?

keith drury

18 comments:

Ken Schenck said...

Scary for established writers... but maybe an opportunity for the person who has had trouble getting a break!

Kris said...

It's hard for me to imagine paperless books.

The medium almost seems like half of the story.

:(

This either means published works will become increasingly expensive, or increasingly cheap. Depending on how big the niche is for folks to make money off of the traditionalists.

Kurt A Beard said...

If Self POD becomes the norm readers are going to loose a valuable source of information about their reading choices mainly the ability to know which books are denominational approved because they are printed by the denominations publishing house. If the Wesleyan Publishing House were forced to close where would Wesleyan's turn to find books approved by their denomination. The same goes with Concordia Publishing House for Lutheran's.
This may cause some denominations and groups to issue something like the Imprimaturs the Catholic Church has issued in the past or a formal "books we would have published" style reading list.

Keith Drury said...

Kurt,

An increasing number of denominations already sell their stuff through Parable.com so denominations are already losing their gatekeeper/arbiter role... let alone amazon.com. Of course any denomination can easily compile a web page of clickable links to books that are "tribal" in nature... like hay always have with print "catalogs." Much of this is not the future..it is already happening....

::athada:: said...

Even though I'm thoroughly digital (age 24) books still have a niche in my life. Blogs, articles, essays, scientific research are all online for me. But if I want to envelop myself in a story (fiction) or even a non-fiction piece with substantial content, I turn to actual, physical books. And with websites like Half.com or PaperBackSwap.com, I can get them for just a couple bucks instead of $25 for a new copy (though if everyone does this the production runs will be shorter as used books circulate quicker - though I'm a recent college grad so I'm still frugal). I stare at a back-lit screen so much already that I need a break. Though that's probably what I would have said 5 years ago and look at us now...

John Mark said...

Fascinating post. I love books. I love everything about them. I love expensive leather bound books, though I can't afford to buy them, and they aren't really a good use of my money...so I only have one, an Easton Press Bible given to me as a gift, it was about $300 new.
I suspect there will always be a few book lovers. Let me mention, tangentially, perhaps that my son (20) is interested in vinyl records, and there is a small market for them. Who would have thought? So hardbound (always the best) books may continue to be marketed to some of us traditionalists.
As to the whole publishing thing, I don't know anything about that.

tricia said...

Interesting. I know lots of people love Kindle, but i can't imagine it. Never heard of POD but it makes sense. Thanks for enlightening me.

Robin said...

I follow the comics industry pretty closely and what you have described is already happening there.

There are tons of newspapers going out of business, so an up and coming cartoonist doesn't have much chance of getting picked up by a syndicate and if he does he won't make as much money as the old boys did. Meanwhile, there are lots of cartoonists making money on the web -- by giving away their comics for free! Money is made by advertising and self-published print editions of their comics.

I think there will always be a place for print -- it will be for the stuff you really love and want to collect.

Chap said...

Good thoughts Keith.

I was wondering what impact this will eventually have for libraries?

Our city just built a huge multi-million dollar library. My opinion has been that what we really needed were multiple hubs built around computer terminals. If the main purpose of a library is access to information, especially for the sake of the less fortuate I don't get why we need huge "book warehouses" in our informational/digital age.

How does the 11 year old inner city kid (who really needs access, and has a homework assignment, get there?

Why would the rest of us want to go to a public library when I can sit at Barnes and Noble or order a cheap version on my Kindle?

I just think this new wave of publishing pushes the old public library into the dust bins of the 20th century...if so, good riddance.

Pete Vecchi said...

"We've never done it that way before!"

;-)

Dan said...

Hey, I love the library. I also agree with your critique of our library system and its inefficiency. It's just the "good riddance" part that causes this boomer a bit of greif.

Josh said...

Does this mean my 1st edition Kurt Vonnegut will be worth thousands in a couple of years or pennies? :)

I'm with Thada - so much of my day is spent in front of a screen - I can't imagine reading a whole book on screen as well. For some reason, it doesn't count to read it on screen...just like it doesn't really count by listening to it either. Book reading for me is so primal and organic - it encompasses so much more than simply obtaining information. I'll be sad if one day I'm reading Coupland's latest book on screen, though I know it's bound to happen.

Keith Drury said...

JOSH>>>> Yes save your 1st edition Kurt Vonnegut....

I'm reading through all of Steinbeck's writing in the order he wrote them... Today I was searching for "The Red Pony" and thought "I think I'll check on a first edition-hardback instead of one of these crummy paperbacks... I happened to find one too--a SIGNED one.... but I went with the paperback since the signed one cost over $9,000!

There will always be paper books as long as you and me are around... just like there will always be horses around even though people have automobiles. ;-)

Harper said...

Hi Keith,

I was just thinking this week about translation work, namely, translating significant theological works into Southeast Asian languages. The need here is great, since there are so many different people groups in need of training and Christian education. I'm just wondering how this revolution in publishing will affect them - especially those too poor to afford a laptop, or in countries where Internet media is closely monitored by the government (think China)?

Keith Drury said...

HARPER.... as you already know the digital world has already been a boon to translation work. There will be better access to digital works by translators, the reduced price to access may be a boon, But what may affect translation and access to the poor the most is the potential meltdown in protective rights of the "haves." As for computers or "E-readers" being available to the poor... once the poor theological student needs to access more than 40 books over a three-year period E-readers will be cheaper than printed books... and this will not even take into consideration the coming E-readers that sell for $100 instead of $400. So I suspect the move to digital will help your work eventually.

(the irony on all this is that with the increased access to information we may actually see a decline in the actual reading of information..this may the the really big problem we face ;-)

David Drury said...

"The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time" - Abraham Lincoln

On this I have peace.

No doubt 25 years from now we'll look back upon our bookliness and wonder how we could have ever been so antiquated--just as iPhone users my age (mid-30s) may chuckle at the roatary phones and 8-Tracks of our youth.

But it does indeed come slowly. In fact, there's usually the "transitional installments" (see all the Cassettes, CDs and DVDs I purchased the last 20 years before I got an iPod and went purely digital for all that).

So, on a financial level for the writers among us, it may be wise to be "just slightly ahead of our time." This so as to not "bet the farm" on something akin to "beta video."

The history of the Tuesday Column has shown that it's quite a bit more ahead of it's time than "just slightly"... even if it's author has been largely right in prediction.

-David

Keith Drury said...

Dave: Good point... most of my life I have not erred by being wrong but by being half-right too soon ;-)

As evidence of this tendency to be half right here is what I posted
four years ago this month

Robin said...

Wow, Keith, if that had been the real Republican team, maybe they would have stood a better chance.