1. Noodleguy
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    Noodleguy Senior Member

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    Time Magazine on Publishing and Modern Literature

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Noodleguy, Jan 25, 2009.

    This article was in Time Magazine this week.

    Did anyone else see it? It's really about two different things: Self-publishing, and how the Internet is changing literature. I think this is highly relevant to a lot of people here. I don't know what your opinions on its validity are though...? I don't know much about publishing, but it does seem to go against some of the conventional wisdom about self-publishing. I would especially recommend checking out page three about the future of modern writing. It's very interesting. They talk a lot about posting of novels online electronically, and about fanfic as well, and how that might change the future of writing.

    I don't know if this belongs in Publishing, Book Discussion, or wherever...so I took the safe route and put it here. It is arts related though so it doesn't seem to belong in the Lounge...hmmm...
     
  2. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    I think another member put a similar article up a few months back. Right now the literary publication industry suffers from over saturation of the market. There are so many publishing companies, so many different ways of getting a book that many are struggling to make it by. We'll probably see a collapse in the industry soon and when it recovers we'll get to see what new direction it will run in.

    Add in the competition of other entertainment media like TV, Video Games, and Movies and the literary industry is faced with the fact it must change.
     
  3. Noodleguy
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    Noodleguy Senior Member

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    The article does include though that people haven't stopped reading. Actually I think it gives a statistic that more people are reading frequently now than ever. But with so much free media on the Internet available...why BUY a book? We may see a rebirth of the publishing industry, but I wonder if instead we'll see a massive sophistication and development of the ebook industry.

    Then again, nothing will ever compare to holding an actual book in your hands. That'll never die out, it's just gradually ebbing in favor of more electronic alternatives. Just look at the popularity of the Kindle.
     
  4. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    I think that in time everything will be regulated via internet. There won't be stores on the street there will be warehouses that store the stuff you buy online sort of thing XD. I'm sure real stores and books will still exist but I think it'll become less common as the information age keeps going.

    I'm sure people still read a lot. I know lots of people who read a book every other week! I'm just saying there's a lot of competition out there. Last year Video Game retail sales beat Hollywood! It's one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Books meanwhile are having over saturation problems akin to the early 80's electronic entertainment market. I agree there will be a bigger emphasis on eBooks definitely.
     
  5. RIPPA MATE
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    RIPPA MATE Contributing Member

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    People will always buy physical books, there nothing like a solid wad of paper in your hands. Well i'll always buy books. :p
     
  6. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    When television first became popular, many people predicted the end of radio. Radio changed but certainly did not end. Books are very personal...some people love their new digital books, while others, myself included, remain fond of paper books. In fact, when my kids gave me a Kindle for Christmas, I tried it and gave it away to my grandson. I hated it.

    I think the biggest "change" that will occur in traditional publishing is the compensation system. Authors, agents and publishing companies are going to be forced into some kind of results-based earnings of actual sales rather than hopeful projections. Only big-name authors and "sure bet" non-fiction will be given "advances". This may be where self-publishing had some merit. If an unknown author has personally generated success with a self publishing effort, then I believe traditional publishers will be more inclined to consider future works by that person because of the marketing savvy shown.
     
  7. Noodleguy
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    Noodleguy Senior Member

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    Agreed. I hate Kindles and all other manners of electronic books. Not the same at all. But they are growing in popularity though...

    That does seem to be suggested by the Time article. Those people who self-published ended up scoring publishers thanks to their own personal success. So I guess the vanity DIDN'T kill their career :B
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Why do they call it Kindle? It's absolutely no good for starting a fire in the hearth.
     
  9. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    The article alludes to this, but it's not just the literary or publishing world --it's the world of print in general. Something I'll never understand, because a book or newspaper is just as portable as an iPod or cell phone right? I dont like carrying my laptop everywhere! I suppose most people find the glow of a backlight comforting in this age? :p

    As of 2009, the newspaper I write for went on a diet and is instead spending much of the revenue on furthering the online availability to consumers. The section I'm normally featured in has been taken out all together (in exchange, however, happily, I'll be relocated to a much more prominent location), and online buttons have popped up all over print products everywhere. All of our columnists have to take five days of unpaid 'vacation' this February --those who havent lost their jobs already, that is.

    Something else the article did a fine job of pointing out is the obstinate nature of the print and publishing world --Chris Jackson is correct; this business is scared of risks and scared of change. So am I, as an enthusiast of (and hopefully, soon to have a career in) the print world.

    I hadnt even heard of a Kindle until I visited this thread, though. I dont understand. From what I'm seeing, that Kindle is extremely overpriced. $399?! Buy a secondhand book or paperback --trust me, it's way cheaper. I find this product a little sad, to be honest. I dont think I like the idea of it, either. Ironic, though. I was just talking with my co-workers about this. We were wondering when books would move to the electronic world (besides audiobooks, of course).
     
  10. Noodleguy
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    Noodleguy Senior Member

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    Well, your laptop can be a newspaper and a novel and your e-mail and a videogame and everything all put into one place. And carrying one of those things might not be a problem, but carrying all of them would be ridiculous. And the modern person's attention span for one thing is SO low they need to be able to switch what they are doing every five seconds :eyeroll:

    The Kindle is ridiculously popular though. But I had no idea they were that expensive! Insane! Although once you have it buying books on it, I think, is very cheap. My friend said you can even get most of the classics for free, like Dracula or Oliver Twist or that sort of thing. So I guess maybe if you used it long enough the investment would pay off... ??? There are cheaper versions of the same product though I think. Oh, not to mention that you can buy books for your Ipod Touch now too.

    That is a very good question, sir!
     
  11. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is one thing I find very hard to imagine when the the book store is so many malls (at least in Toronto, couldn't say about other cities) has two levels. Sure, they sell lots of other things, but their main product is still books.
     
  12. Noodleguy
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    Noodleguy Senior Member

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    The biggest mall near me has no bookstore, they all went out of business, so I don't find it that hard to imagine. Which, by the way, depresses me to no end. And it doesn't seem to bug anyone else at all. And we aren't that far from Toronto either. Maybe not in the near near future I don't see large scale collapse of bookstores, but still...it happened here.

    Anybody read Jasper Fforde's "First among Sequels"? In his book the "bookstores" don't even sell books, and they've all forgotten what books even are. Except for the interprid adventurer, who is shocked and surprised by this...it's a funny book. Obviously THAT level of insanity won't happen, but...

    And it's not that people have stopped reading fiction. They've just stopped reading certain varieties and started reading other varieties.
     
  13. Eli
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    Eli Member

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    I actually found a bookshop that wasn't a waterstones the other day. I was so happy I nearly cried, I went in just to say hello and ended up buying half a dozen books and sitting for an hour with the owner drinking tea whilst we talked over 1984 (which I had just finished and hated, but he had adored). You don't get that kind of experience selecting, purchasing and buying books from a little gadget.


    I sometimes wonder how past authors would have managed to get published if they were alive today. It seems that they all just sold their novels straight away.
     
  14. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    People will never stop reading, but I just can't believe people will give up hard copies, especially when you look at the culture of cities like Toronto. We literally have 99 libraries. As far as I know, it's the largest library system in the world. There are four that I get get to within twenty minutes.
     
  15. Noodleguy
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    Noodleguy Senior Member

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    Y-y-you hated 1984? *shudders* Shun!

    Well, you're very lucky. No one here reads really, as far as I know. Most of the libraries (with the exception of Pittsford) are tiny and unsuccessful. That is, what few libraries there are. The UofR's private library, Rhush Rhees, is the only good one. Other than Barnes and Nobles and Borders, we don't have many bookstores either. The malls have no bookstores. No one is interested in reading. It is hellish.

    Maybe in other countries reading survives but Americans don't enjoy reading anything more complicated than the back of their cardboard Starbucks Vente Frappachino cup. Whenever people see me reading in public I get the most awkward looks ever. Like

    'Are you really reading God-Emperor of Dune for your school?'

    'Ummm, no it's for fun.'

    'What...?'

    Perhaps I ought to move to Toronto.

    I'm not saying that the written word will ever die out, I highly doubt it, but I'm saying it's slowly being replaced by electronic means. More than that, it's slowly being replaced by TV, movies, videogames, and the Internet. I mean, the data simply shows that more and more people are reading Kindles and ebooks and that sort of stuff, and less and less people are reading "traditional" books. People aren't entirely going to give up hard copies, but they are becomin less popular. Especially with the crumbling and dying publishing industry.
     
  16. Eli
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    Eli Member

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    But I wonder how many people actually use them.

    When I was at university if you actually tried to check out a book the librarians would look at you rather askance, as though they'd never heard of such a notion. And if anyone asks where I am going on a saturday morning, and I tell them to the library, the reply is invariably 'where's that then?'.
     
  17. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    I'm never giving up on hard copies. There is that nice feel. But I think the only reason eBooks haven't taken over is because they've been sort of passive. A lot of people I talk to don't seem to know you can get a subscription to some website for a monthly fee and then read all the books you want on your computer! I think that there are many people that if they knew would jump on such a thing.
     
  18. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually, the Toronto libraries are thriving. Every time I go, even in the smallest ones, there are always at least a dosen people, and not just using the computers. They have events all the time and run all kinds of community programs. Sometimes there is even a line-up to check out books. Don't believe me? Check out the website:
    http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/pro_index.jsp
     
  19. Noodleguy
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    Noodleguy Senior Member

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    Where I am, the reply tends to be 'what's that then?'

    Well, I'm glad at least Toronto's libraries are thriving. Rochester's are dead. I'll add that to my list of many reasons why I would rather live there than here...
     
  20. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the article is thought-provoking, to say the least!

    if there is a revolution going on, let's just hope that it will generate the birth of more reliable/reputable self-publishing venues, with higher standards of both writing and publishing quality, than we currently find available...
     
  21. Eli
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    Eli Member

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    If I had a good reason would you un-shun me? :p: I just didn't really have any political frame of reference so the allusions to that side of things didn't mean much to me... also I adored 'Down & Out' and 'Wigan Pier' such alot that it felt strange to read his voice as fiction. If that makes sense?


    Well you can count out England. Just the other day in the paper they were lamenting literacy rates and talking about new ways to make librarys 'FUN', as if they are planning to lure kids in with console games and then start ambushing them with copies of 'The Wind in the Willows'.
     

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