Monday, October 15, 2007


Earlier today I got an email on blogging with a link to a site that told me that the book is basically dead because people can’t be bothered to read them anymore. They want things fast and short…so short in fact that even the ebook is on its way out. According to this site, books are “irrelevant for all but true enthusiasts, desperate people seeking a manifesto for life change, or those who read as an escape.”
It’s hard to get with the program when things keep changing so quickly. Imagine if you’re an architect. One week cathedrals might be in, and the next they’ve been abandoned for yurts. I can’t help wondering where I fit into all this myself. Here I am toiling away on a book that may never be published—so am I crazy, or what?

But if there are any prizes going for doggedness, I certainly deserve one because I stayed up until 3 a.m. finishing my quota of pages for the week. Surprisingly, I’m not that tired today, although as I write this, the idea of a hot water bottle and a long nap sounds mighty appealing.


Anonymous said...

Really, I don't believe that commentator - how could Books A Million, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Amazon stay in business? Two of those have a coffeeshop attached, but their main business is selling books. There is also a thriving business online in second hand books -, alibris, etc., and Amazon sells those, too, through a huge number of resellers. I would say that our household averages $2500 a year spent on books - now, mind you, we don't eat out, we don't buy liquor, and we don't do movies or dvds, because we buy books! We also use our local library, such as it is, and my child uses her school library, as well. We also have a local used bookstore that we trade in, and the owner makes a fair living from it. I do think that there is a dearth of skilled writers (and editors) and that publishers are undergoing some upheaval in their business: paper is expensive, printing is expensive; staff is expensive, etc. I think they also suffer from a lack of vision when it comes to taking on new or aspiring talent. (There has also been an upswing in the so-called "vanity" presses; you know: you write your own book, can't get picked up by a house or an agent, so you pay to have it published and distribute it yourself, thus, "vanity".)
I also note that a lot of books are on a 3 year cycle now instead of 2 - hard back, "trade" paperback, and finally, regular paperback. The prices have also increased significantly since I started buying my own books - about 30 years, now. I buy a good deal of art-related books, which are almost always printed in hard back or "trade" paper, and while I buy some older stock as used, most of the newer ones (you know, the ones I really need) are only available as new. They are also expensive.
I would also say that my child, who's in the 6th grade, is required to take part in a state mandated program for accelerated reading - all students, state-wide, have anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes per school day to read - and they HAVE to read and test on the books they read, to a certain level, to get credit -- and they have to have a certain amount of credit. I know my child had no choice but to be a reader since that is all she has ever seen her mom and dad do, but surely out of all those students, some percentage will continue with the habit of reading in later years?
Sorry to write so much, but I think I disagree with the commentator, and if you have a talent for writing, I think it will come out regardless of whether you are published!
Good luck,

juneh said...

huh!? That is totally bizzare! I enjoy books because of the tactile appeal they have. The smell of books are so intoxicating...(ok maybe its the ink -- you can stop laughing now) You definitely can't do that with a computer screen!

A bird in the hand said...

That's just stupid.
Books are alive and well and being published all the time.
Books are forever.

Debbie Olson said...

My son and I love books! I think that you're safe. . . Besides, what happens to our accumulated digitized knowledge when an EMP goes off? I'm pretty sure that books will still work. ;-)