News You Can Use – Oct. 4, 2011

The Future of the Book – An essay by the atheist and bestselling author Sam Harris. Do agree or disagree? His thought are provocative.

Things We Know and Don’t Know About E-books – A brilliant assessment by Mike Shatzkin.

The Future of Books – a Dystopian Timeline – John Biggs writes this depressing prediction of the demise of books for TechCrunch. Do you agree that all publishers will die in 2019…a mere 7 1/4 years from now?

How Amazon Controls the Entire Publishing Industry – If you’ve been following this topic the article isn’t news. But if you haven’t “pay attention.” We are.

The World’s Smallest Book – See the picture at the end of the tweezers. And the publisher printed 300 of them? Really?

3 Responses to News You Can Use – Oct. 4, 2011

  1. Avatar
    Robin Patchen October 4, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    In talking about how the public may feel they can watch a Youtube video for a few minutes and absorb the basics of what the speaker is saying, Harris said: “In some cases this is true and suggests an enduring problem for the business of publishing. In other cases it clearly isn’t true and suggests an enduring problem for our intellectual life.”

    That sort of sums it up, doesn’t it? If we aren’t willing or, God forbid, if we’ve been so dumbed down by entertainment and modern media that we cannot endure a long argument, what kind of a society have we become? We will tolerate the brilliant logic of a 2-minute fight-fest on some talking head show, but we will get lost in the long, cohesive and eternal argument for our Savior in the book of Romans. A frightening development in this post-Christian society. It has been happening for some time. Compare the Lincoln-Douglass debates with what we call “debate” in the modern political arena. The Internet has only acted as a catalyst in a culture spiraling downward.

    According to, a blog post should be around 250 words. The average person will read a blog for about 96 seconds. Yet this is where the average American is getting his “intellectual stimulation”? Can people be stimulated toward intellectual thought in 96 seconds?

    As publishing moves toward electronic formats, the world moves from the intellectual to the entertainment. There’s nothing wrong with being entertained, but we must be intellectually stimulated, or we will not have the capacity to understand the Word of God, thus we will never really know God. God will probably not start blogging in 250 word increments, no matter what we do.

  2. Avatar
    Janet Ann Collins October 4, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    My grandfather, born in 1874, told me people had feared movies would make live theater obsolete. In my childhood we thought TV would replace radio and movies. None of those things happened, but the older forms of entertainment changed to meet the wishes of their audiences. Technology is constantly changing so current reading devices, like old computers, will become obsolete and the material on them will be lost but hard copy books don’t depend on technology. I think there will always be room for both, but the publishing industry will have to change a lot and it’s too soon to guess exactly what changes are needed.

  3. Avatar
    John Sleeper October 4, 2011 at 9:08 am #

    All these BLOGs referenced here fit into one class, “To ‘E’ or not to ‘E’, that is the question…”

    Well, not really. If we look at the big picture it is undeniable that print books are going to be extinct in the near future. Not exactly like the dinosaur because there will be those who have a mimeograph machine in the basement and will continue to ‘print’ and actually sell to collectors. These collectors will maintain shelves of dust covered relics for their beauty or whatever pleasure the collection gives them.

    On the other hand, those who read for the enjoyment of escaping into the mind of the author leaving their dreary world of sleeping, eating and working behind for awhile, will become more and more enamored with e-books, e-music, e-movies, e-lectures, e-college degrees, e-phones…

    To see the future of the writer/reader relationship, take a look at the telephone. It started out as a cast-iron device that sat on a table or hung on a wall. Up until the early 1980’s it gave universal access to easy, fast, cheap communication over vast distances (the entire world actually.) Of course after Ma Bell got the ax planted squarely between her eyes the price began its not so slow rise, service fell almost to zero and access was iffy.

    The stage was then set for the next convenience, the radio phone. Not very convenient actually but new and novel. This quickly progressed to the cell phone. This is where the plot thickens.

    Like e-books and e-readers, when cell phones first came out the phones themselves and the service was minimal to free. My first cell phone, which the dealer impressed on me as being a $300+ item, was given to me for free when I signed up for service which only cost $10/month. This cheap service was a vast conspiracy by the powers behind the scenes to get everyone into the habit of using the cell phone all the time and for everything. Hell, even children now have their own cells. Where this is headed, just like where e-books are headed, is in the not too distant future all e-communications will go through a central hub. Oh, you will still have your own access provider just like your internet service provider (ISP) but just like the internet, once you’re in, you’re in. E-books will all be distributed by a central house and everyone who wishes to read will purchase access at some convenient point.

    As writers, agents and publishers we will have to realize that no amount of hand-wringing or worry will change the future. To use a cliché, its coming like a freight train. We must either get onboard, get out of the way or be crushed. If you are one of those who can’t get past giving your book away, try looking at it as free advertising. So, like your advertising budget, only spend the smallest amount you can on these giveaways: essays, short stories…

    If you can’t wrap your head around this then rescue your old mimeograph machine from the basement and get started on your own fringe publishing company now and avoid the big rush. LOL!

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