Novelist * Essayist * Speaker
I hate to see the brick and mortar bookstores go. I have spent many an enjoyable afternoon just browsing the shelves of my local Barnes & Noble. BUT I am also thrilled at the possibilties that Ebooks offer someone like me. I can write my novel and put it out there to let it sink or swim on it's own merits. I'm no longer at the mercy of some guy working for a big publishing house who's probably sick of reading manuscripts and throws away good stories every day.
That's exactly how we have to look at these changes. Disruptive, yes...but laden with opportunities, if we look for them and then seize them.
I'm surprised you didn't mention bookstore's ban of mag with Muhammed cover. Wasn't that Borders? Didn't you push for a boycott?
Well, this paragraph in his essay seems like mostly baloney, except re the role of ereading. The Decline of Reading has been going on forever. Midlist writers have been unhappy with the nonresources nondevoted to them for many years. But ebooks are a scythe."The problem is people don't love books the way they once did, nor do they read them the same way. Cheaper electronic versions undermine the need for shelf-space. Younger audiences who haven't grown up with rainy afternoons spent inside book pages, don't snap up the latest great read -- unless there's a certain vampire or wizard attached. The backlists of mid-level authors are not lucrative for the balance sheet. And the pressure for profits to keep the stock price high runs diametrically opposite to the slow, meandering, long-term customer approach that used to define bookstores."
I did indeed push for a Borders boycott, when -- alone among bookstore chains -- it caved preemptively to fear of Islamist reprisals by refusing to stock and sell a magazine that reprinted cartoon images of Muhammad. This disgraceful, cowardly action deserved public repudiation and scorn, and I was happy to encourage that response.However, Borders collapse had little if anything to do with that, and everything to do with broader trends in publishing and book retailing, which I've discussed here a lot.
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