Monday, March 15, 2010

The future of the written word

by Jim

Peter Miller has been logging interesting reports from the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin. This one in particular amuses me.

We in publishing are obviously concerned with the future of epublishing and where the ebook will take us. But those folks who seem to think we’re all on the Titanic after it hit the iceberg are all a bit too panicky for my taste.

No matter how many twits are tweeting or how many people buy the unbelievably badly named iPad; whether books will develop interactivity in the electronic age or formats actually become open, this remains a business about the written word.

It’s so now to be convinced that the industry is outmoded and to cast about blame rather than looking for actual solutions. It’s nice to see someone at SXSWi with an open mind toward the potential developments of the future who also isn’t about to ignore the fact that publishing has already survived other potentially crushing developments like movies and television.

I’m excited to see whatever the future looks like, as long as I can keep reading.


  1. I'm not worried about the future of books. What I know that technology is ephemeral. The the e-readers will be supplanted by more advanced models as the years pile up. A Gutenberg Bible printed 550 years ago can still be read---if you can read medieval German, that is. How many e-book readers and their contents will be compatible or transferable to other devices even ten years from now?

  2. What concerns me most, from a writer's perspective, is that an agent (as well as the writer) has a whole new set of issues when it comes to epublishing payments, return policies (if ebooks can be returned, that is), et cetera, and if the agent is up-to-date on the new legal paradigm that is presently favoring the publishers' bank accounts.

    Some cleave new agent could corner perspective new writers by advertising herself as an expert at ebpublishing contracts and all of its covert language about payment and distribution.