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iPads, E-Books, and the Coming Revolution

Writer’s Digest blogger Jane Friedman posted an interesting bit today about the changing world of the writer (or would-be writer), and how the dream of “write your book, get it published, rinse and repeat” is changing, and needs to change, as books begin their transition from a primarily physical medium, to a primarily electronic one.

What was interesting wasn’t so much her actual post (which more or less was to say, “JUMP ON! And here’s what I think of the Kindle, iPhone, and iPad…”), although that was interesting too. :) What was really interesting was the bevy of links she included about the state of the industry and writer’s role in it. So at the risk of making a post that’s just a link to a post full of links (How meta can you get?), here are the ones that most caught my eye:

My own belief is that the book, i.e. leaves of paper bound with a cover, is not going away within any of our lifetimes. However, I do believe that it’s going to become more and more of a premium item. As time goes on and tablet-type devices become more ubiquitous, the books that will still be sold will tend more and more toward having features that the device simply can’t replicate, ranging from leather covers and gold leafing, to giant coffee-table editions of photo or art books.

Magazines, newspapers, and technical books? Yeah, they’re dead, just as dead as the Yellow Pages. But frankly I don’t consider that much of a loss. (EDIT: Let me clarify this … I don’t consider it a loss that magazines, newspapers, and technical books would convert to electronic format. That doesn’t mean I want them to die all together, and I don’t think they will, although in the case of newspapers and magazines I expect they’re going to end up basically as high-end blogs. Whether they can flourish in that form, is another story.)

I also suspect there may come a time when straight-up retail bookstores and used bookstores merge. Much like Amazon will sell you a new book for $30 or a used copy for $14.99, places like Powell’s may very well become the place to go for all of your physical reading media. Certainly if I were a distributor in particular, I’d be looking for new avenues, because there may come a time in the not-too-distant future when the Borders and B&N’s of the world become hard to find.

-The Gneech

PS: Oh, and speaking of the iPad, I have a delivery date now! It’s hard to get any more “late April” than “April 30,” but in my heart of hearts, I always assumed that’s what it would end up being anyway.

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Originally published at gneech.com. You can comment here or there.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 21st, 2010 02:07 pm (UTC)
I've thought about investing in some personal letterhead for just such a purpose, actually.

Apr. 21st, 2010 10:41 am (UTC)

I would probably take out a subscription for my local newspaper on an e-reader, provided it was in 4-colour and had the same content as the regular one. Plus the ability to update instantly any ongoing story--but still able to bring up the original.

In semi-related news, did you see the story on Gizmodo about the "lost" next generation iPhone that someone found in a bar?
Apr. 21st, 2010 02:07 pm (UTC)
I heard about it. Whoops!

Apr. 21st, 2010 02:09 pm (UTC)
LOTRO just got bought by the Warner Bros.

No word yet about the Warner sister, Dot.
Apr. 21st, 2010 02:12 pm (UTC)
"Whattya wanna do tonight, Mr. Frodo?"
"The same thing we do every night, Sam. TAKE THE RING TO MORDOR!"

They're Frodo and the Sam!
Frodo and the Sam!
One is a gardener,
the other's on the lam!

They're Hobbits from the Shire!
Their situation's dire!
They're in a jam,
they're Frodo and the Sam, Sam, Sam, Sam, Sam!

-The Gneech
Apr. 21st, 2010 07:20 pm (UTC)
Yeah, but would that make Frodo even shorter? He didn't have that much height to lose.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 21st, 2010 07:22 pm (UTC)
You know, that was my thought about the nuclear Armageddon as well.
Apr. 21st, 2010 07:27 pm (UTC)
Yeah, but then your glasses break and you're screwed anyway.

-The Gneech
Apr. 22nd, 2010 06:00 am (UTC)
*Chris Griffin*GET OUT OF MY HEAD!!!!*/Chris Griffin*
Apr. 21st, 2010 04:31 pm (UTC)
But, if you buy an e-reader whose sole purpose is books (or newspapers) then you should not have to worry about the IM's , banners , pop-ups, etc. The one I'm considering only connects to the internet for downloading the material. After that, it becomes a 1/4 inch, no page book with a quarter million pages.
Apr. 21st, 2010 11:55 pm (UTC)
Just my opinion, but while I do want an I-pad, I hope they don't replace books any time soon. I prefer the feel of a book in my hands to the feel of a reader. Besides, if I drop a book in the tub, it gets wet, however, once it dries out, it may be a bit warped but it should still be readable. Dropping a reader in the tub may have somewhat more disastrous effects.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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