Honestly think this is inescapable. Think in truth it has been pretty obviously the future for some time. O’m not sure it will come quickly though, more likely very slowly and in fits and starts. I also expert print to persist though and I’d not be surprised to see ebooks hanging around too!
Many people don’t want books to become part of the Internet, because we just don’t know what business would look like if they were.
This will change, slowly or quickly. While the value of the digitization of books for readers has primarily been, to date, about access and convenience, there is massive and untapped (and unknown) value to be discovered once books are connected. Once books are accessible in the way well-structured websites are.
There is so much more to this article, but this point in particular stood out!
In this model, authors stop carving out rights. They hand almost everything over to the publishers and give them maximum flexibility to experiment with format, pricing, sampling, enhancements, and territory – BUT, for a very limited time. At the end of those 3-5 years, everyone reassesses.
If the publisher has done an outstanding job and turned the book into a bestseller, they might now have to cough up more royalties. If the publisher has failed to sell the book or exploit some of the rights they were ceded, the author may continue with the house on a more limited basis or may withdraw the book altogether and take it elsewhere. The author gets far more flexibility and control over the book’s fate than was ever possible with a life-of-copyright contract, but has to accept a full partnership role: the publisher will no longer pay a significant advance or assume the lion’s share of the financial risk.
Om is right AND wrong here. Yes the message is way more important than the medium, but there’s a real danger that in letting bookstores go we eliminate a whole raft of positive externalities.
The New York Times has been chronicling the trials and tribulations of Barnes & Noble, and in one of the pieces, the paper (which itself is on the receiving end of the digital whip) laments the loss of the traditional book-buying experience. Industry insiders are worried that as the stores die, books and the discovery of books are going to suffer, and as a result, book sales are going to take a nosedive. These arguments are no different from some of the hand-wringing over the shuttering of record stores.
Every time I walk down Broadway in New York, I see the shuttered space that once housed Tower Records, which was chock-full of musical goodness. I look at it wistfully, shake my head, walk on, and a few minutes later, when fancy strikes, I download the latest remix of Bad Boy Bass by Gaudi. I guess I’m one of those who believe that the message is more important than the medium.
It’s a day for good articles on the future and books!
It is very hard for me to grasp why anybody would prefer a printed book 30 or 40 years from now. I’m sure by then screen technology will be able to simulate any aspect of the printed book that could possibly be of interest (except, perhaps, for the smell of the paper, ink, and glue, but, then maybe a companion air-wick would do the trick. I wonder if you can use the same aromas for all titles, or whether some customization will be required.)
I just liked this paragraph but the whole piece is interesting and well worth reading!
Case in point: The University of Texas Co-Op — who is the largest seller of used textbooks in the country and the most profitable independent college bookstore in the United States — recently purchased an EBM for $150,000. It has created publishing company Forty Acres Press to manage the machine, which has been affectionately named B.O.B: The Burnt Orange Book machine, in honor of the university’s signature color.
I’m concerned at the demise of literary reading–the reading of fiction, poetry, or plays. It has declined among all specified ethnic groups, at all educational levels, among all age groups, and among both women and men. In US research, the “steepest decline in literary reading is in the youngest age groups”. For example, the decline goes from 59.8 percent in 1982’s 18-to-24 group to 42.8 percent in groups surveyed in 2002. The decline in literary reading correlates with increased participation in Facebook, Twitter, and discussion boards.
I get the sense that Mike is at his wits end on the bookstore issue. And I’d not blame him for that. There does sometimes seem to be a willful process of ignoring the impact the digital changes will have on bookstores.
So the race between single-function e-ink and more full-function tablets accelerates the movement from print to digital book consumption; and the move from print to digital book consumption accelerates the shift from store-based purchasing to online purchasing; and the shift to online book purchasing, whether print or digital, accelerates the reduction of brick-and-mortar shelf space.
And the reduction of brick-and-mortar shelf space increasingly challenges the core proposition of all of today’s largest book publishers.