Tuesday, September 23, 2008

People Still Want Stories

by Raelene Gorlinsky

The Booksquare blog has an interesting discussion on the state of the publishing industry, referencing the New York Magazine article "The End" (see our blog post of Sept. 16).
"It's Only the End of Rose-Colored Glasses" by Kassia Krozser

Her article points out places where she thinks New York Magazine missed the boat. I totally agree with her that there are still lots of book buyers and readers out there, for a fantastic variety of books. And that the traditional NY "literary" parts of the publishing industry just aren't keeping up with what readers want now. They are way behind on ebooks and other digital uses, among other things.

My opinion: People still, and always will, want stories (fiction) and information (non-fiction). It's just the packaging and delivery mechanisms that are changing, offering more options. Publishers need to be leaping into audio, ebooks, multimedia, online delivery, book-linked video and online products.

Nope, books are not going away. But the definition of "book" is expanding.

Your opinion? Where do you see publishing going in the next couple of years? Where do you WANT to see it going?


Dharma Kelleher said...

Personally, I'm still not ready to drop $360 for a Kindle or an equivalent, particularly for something that may or may not provide a better reading experience than paper. It's not like I can go to a store and try out a Kindle.

When it comes to electronic literature, I'm much more amendable to audiobooks, which I can listen to on my iPod. I can enjoy a book while driving or grocery shopping or lying in bed.

Am I alone in this?

Marissa Alwin said...

We have traveled far from the tales around the fire (well except for ghost stories around the campfire like we did this weekend) and the bard and trubadors travelling from village to village.

To think people once thought the printing press would not go far. That scribed then print books would be to expensive for everyone...

I agree things change and the way of telling the story has broadened its scope once more.

xssa annella said...

where do we want it to go?
shilling out 20-30 bucks a hardcover, ouch! prices havwe jumped in the last couple years. now an 8 dollar paperback is not rare. compare that to minium wage-the people most likely to read for fun can't afford the hardcovers.
where is it going?
given the increasin gnumber of wireless and other tchno hoople, i see a time when the house itself has it's own computer and wifi for the family. so more e-books, in a variety of forms. as gas prices go up, and cell phones sales go up, clearly more digital format will be used.
as technogoly catches up, voice data may be popular, where someone or thing is reading. so good bye incentive to learn to read. sob.
but, hey, someone still has to write what other people say, so maybe there will still be jobs in the future for writers. especially when ebook branch out more to literay fiction, and more common from major publishers.

Anny Cook said...

I've owned a Sony digital reader for nearly two years. Yes, there are improvements I would like to see. But I find that I seldom buy a print book anymore. Those that I buy are reference books for my library. If I could buy them in digital format, I would.

I like the convenience of carrying a library with me in my bag. Long waits in doctor's offices are more bearable.

As for audio--I really don't enjoy "listening" to books. Definitely don't want the distraction when I'm shopping or driving. Probably that's because I'm one of those people who can't concentrate on more than one thing at a time.