Two months ago — two months! — I started digging into the issues facing publishers and authors. Now, eight weeks hence — eight weeks! — I feel like I’m living in another millennium. Or having a dissociative episode.
Back at the dawn of time the Kindle was all that, with Sony trying to chip away at market share. Now, today, the Barnes & Noble reader (called the Nook) seems to have materialized out of thin air and projected itself into the role of New Sensation!
Kindle development time = 197 years. Nook = 2 minutes on High.
Back at the dawn of time Google was getting ready to lock up all written and yet-to-be written knowledge by conspiring with a little-known, self-absorbed bureaucracy that could not pass up the chance to do something important, even if that something was completely and utterly wrong. Now, today, the Internet Archive is doing something just as interesting, without all the lawsuits — and without aspiring to own things they don’t own.
By the way, I found this really interesting:
Brewster took a break from the demonstrations to elaborate a couple of facts, the most significant of which was the fact the books in the worlds libraries fall into 3 categories. The first category is public domain, which accounts for 20% of the total titles out there – these are the titles being scanned by IA. The second category is books that are in print and still commercially viable, these account for 10% of the volumes in the world’s libraries. The last category are books that are “out of print” but still in copyright. These account for 70% of the titles, and Brewster called this massive amount of information the “dead zone” of publishing.
Polarized positions are becoming even more polarized. Analog publishers hate digital anything. Bookstore owners hate volume discounts. Agents hate writers. And everybody hates independent authors ecause they’re not waiting in line to be hand-picked and validated by somebody else: “You’re cutting in line! You suck! You have no talent! You’re only able to find readers because of the internet, not because you survived our rigged system!”
Trying to project the lay of the land on New Years Day only evokes images of supernovae. Oh, and that Yellowstone caldera blowing up.
More here from Kassia Kroszer/Booksquare. And here and here from Nathan Bransford.
— Mark Barrett
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