Will technology kill book publishing? Not even close

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Neil Vogler
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Will technology kill book publishing? Not even close

Post by Neil Vogler » October 8th, 2010, 5:46 am

Hi all,

Just thought I'd point to a really good and most importantly upbeat article in USA Today titled "Will technology kill book publishing? Not even close". Some good points made, and it's Friday, right? So let's accentuate the positive here.

The link: http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/fo ... 6_ST_N.htm

And now, back to the work...

N

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Re: Will technology kill book publishing? Not even close

Post by androidblues » October 9th, 2010, 9:56 pm

While ebooks are nice, I prefer reading actual books. I can't exactly see ebooks phasing out real books either. Especially since most schools, a large purchaser of books as well as a place for Scholastic to market like crazy, refuse to convert to ebook format. Each year at least one book is a mandatory purchase by every kid for class, that's at least 1,000,000 books purchased just for school.
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Re: Will technology kill book publishing? Not even close

Post by Mira » October 10th, 2010, 10:33 pm

Well, I sort of think it's up to publishers. They need to adapt to the changing conditions, but if they are flexible and creative - and I can't think why they wouldn't be - I think they could do quite well.

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Re: Will technology kill book publishing? Not even close

Post by tanvi02 » October 28th, 2010, 2:17 am

while its true that e books are in the limelight these days but nothing can replace the pleasure and feel of the paper books and nothing can compare the experience of reading a traditional book

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Re: Will technology kill book publishing? Not even close

Post by Colonel Travis » October 28th, 2010, 6:50 pm

Serious question: why does it matter what form a book (or any kind of writing) is in? I've been writing my whole life. At first, it was all published via printing press. Now it's almost exclusively electronic. I can't see the complete eradication of the traditional printed word, but I cannot understand the aversion to adapting to new technology, whether you're a consumer or producer.

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Re: Will technology kill book publishing? Not even close

Post by Margo » October 28th, 2010, 8:17 pm

Colonel Travis wrote:...but I cannot understand the aversion to adapting to new technology, whether you're a consumer or producer.

I think we've talked this one to death a few times. It basically comes down to vanilla or chocolate. Theatre or DVD rental or netflix. CD or MP3 or college radio. Each format has a slightly different experience attached. People prefer one (or more) format(s) over another because of personal values that are the end result of years of cultural meaning and experiential feedback. As I've mentioned before, I prefer hard copies because the experience of going to the library or bookstore and browsing with friends is a social experience that has meaning and context to me that goes all the way back to my childhood. Mira, for instance, loves the instant gratification of downloading an e-book at lightning speed and the possibility of supporting an indie author who has self-pubbed. That's just one of my reasons and only a couple of Mira's reasons for loving a particular format. Chocolate or vanilla.
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Re: Will technology kill book publishing? Not even close

Post by Colonel Travis » October 28th, 2010, 9:19 pm

I think it goes beyond mere preference, Margo. You may go to a store or a library with friends, but reading is the most reclusive activity you can do, outside of just normal thinking. So is writing. When you go to a bookstore with someone, do you browse every single book together, or do you say something like - meet you back in an hour?

For some lovers of real books, e-books are a visceral threat (look at the title of this thread). I still go to libraries, still check out books, still buy books. But I also love e-books. I don't know a lot of people who think the same way. Maybe there are tons and I don't know it. Honestly, I don't care. Not trying to be antagonistic, just curious because this is one of those hot-button issues that fascinates me. I hate the term "hot-button" but I'm too lazy to think of something else.

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Re: Will technology kill book publishing? Not even close

Post by Margo » October 29th, 2010, 1:34 am

Colonel Travis wrote:When you go to a bookstore with someone, do you browse every single book together, or do you say something like - meet you back in an hour?
We tend to go from section to section together and chat and joke about the books we're looking at or looking for, so it is a very social activity. Then, yes, we go home and read alone, then talk about the books and loan them to one another, etc.
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Re: Will technology kill book publishing? Not even close

Post by Mira » October 29th, 2010, 11:46 am

Colonel Travis wrote:I don't know a lot of people who think the same way.
I do! I switched to e-books, and I'll never go back.

I guess I'm sort of changing from my previous post here. Publishers may survive, but I doubt print books will over the long haul. Sorry, because I know many people are very attached to paper books, but I see two things happening. As the new generation grows up, and the older generation leaves, nostalgia for paper books will fade. Also, when it starts becoming too expensive to continue printing books for a smaller and smaller portion of the market, the technology will completely shift.

But I see e-publishing as terrific for authors, so I'm actually pretty happy about it, to be honest.

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Re: Will technology kill book publishing? Not even close

Post by Colonel Travis » October 29th, 2010, 2:26 pm

Sorry, Mira, I mean love e-books and regular books.

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Re: Will technology kill book publishing? Not even close

Post by Down the well » October 29th, 2010, 2:39 pm

Grrrr...it isn't nostalgia for paper books. Paper books are the format I LIKE to read in. I spend the entire day staring at a computer. When I read for pleasure I prefer to have a book in my hand, one that I can flip the pages back and forth at will without having to wait for the stupid touchscreen to figure out what I want. I don't think the pool of paper lovers will ever shrink to the point that the market will disappear. My teenage son has been raised on all the new technology and even he prefers to have a paperback when he reads.

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Re: Will technology kill book publishing? Not even close

Post by Margo » October 29th, 2010, 4:24 pm

Down the well wrote:Grrrr...it isn't nostalgia for paper books.
Yeah, I'm with you on this. It would be so nice if e-book fans would quit saying this in exchange for paper book fans no longer saying the e-book fans are fad gadget junkies who will move on to a new gadget in two years.

Again, people just like what they like. I have friends with iPads, and iPhones, and portable DVD players, and MP3 players smarter than they are, and Roombas, and server rooms in their house to support the four computers and the whole-house entertainment system, and every little thing Sharper Image put out for awhile there. Number with an e-reader: 1. Number with dedicated libraries in their homes: 6, give or take (someone moved recently, not sure about them). Avid readers: all of them.

People who like paper books are not resistant to technology. We don't live in caves or talk on phones made of tin cans and string. We just have this one preference in common. If the paper book becomes obsolete, I think it more likely will be due to energy limitations than anything else.

Please, guys, go read your e-readers. Have fun. Enjoy yourselves. But please stop telling the rest of us we're going to give up our books because you prefer e-readers.
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Re: Will technology kill book publishing? Not even close

Post by Mira » October 29th, 2010, 5:18 pm

Okay, guys, sorry. Didn't mean to make anyone mad. And I certainly wasn't accusing people who prefer books as being anti-technology.

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Re: Will technology kill book publishing? Not even close

Post by Colonel Travis » October 29th, 2010, 6:48 pm

Margo wrote:It would be so nice if e-book fans would quit saying this in exchange for paper book fans no longer saying the e-book fans are fad gadget junkies who will move on to a new gadget in two years.
I ain't sayin that.
Margo wrote: Please, guys, go read your e-readers. Have fun. Enjoy yourselves. But please stop telling the rest of us we're going to give up our books because you prefer e-readers.
Ain't sayin that, either.

I don't even know if those sentiments were directed toward me. All I'm saying is that I do not remember the clamor for records when CDs came out. (I'm talking mass clamor, you can still find record buffs.) Or CDs when the iPod came out. Or VCRs when DVRs came out. Seriously - I don't care what people prefer. Am I wrong to think there is a greater resistance to technology among book people than, say, music people? And when I say "resistance" I don't imply a fondness for tin can telephones or anything else. I just mean people saying - nah, don't want that.

Not that anyone cares but I'm not a fan of e-readers. Never owned one, never will. Waste of money as far as I'm concerned. Rather have something like an iPad. Costs more, but if I'm going to have a piece of technojunk I want it to be more than a one-trick pony. At the same time, I think an iPad is a waste of money. I'm waiting for computer people to improve these things and the cost comes down, and I'm impatient about it. Drives me nuts that it's taken this long to come out with what's available now. Any time I go to a B&N, the Nook people assault me. Have you seen this?! COLOR!?!?!?!?! It's like the Wizard of @#$%! Oz, I can't wait to tell all the fellas at the penny arcade!

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Re: Will technology kill book publishing? Not even close

Post by Margo » October 29th, 2010, 7:00 pm

Colonel Travis wrote:I don't even know if those sentiments were directed toward me.
No, as I mentioned, this topic has come up several times. My comments addressed the totality of the conversation here on the forum over several threads and mirrored the previous comment about how tired it gets for book readers to constantly have our preference poo-pooed as 'nostalgia' despite the fact that we've given a dozen different reasons for prefering paper books to e-books.

I do agree that I don't recall the same reaction when CDs took over music. However, 'book people' are also 'music people', so some of the same people are resistant to one but not the other, saying to me that it's not a technology resistance issue.
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