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MP, I cannot think of anything much worse than a world in which you cease to write!
Going into any bookseller these days depresses me. Most everything on the shelves is CRAP, and I don't want to read it, certainly don't want to buy it! After four plus years of studying great writing and great literature, I find all my favorite writers, like you, not being published.....
I really don't know how all those college years helped me at all. They taught me to recognise good writing, but now, not much of it can be found out there!

A very sad situatiom indeed, Michael. Does this mean that publishing houses will be looking at non-fiction books or will they be for the chop as well?

Nonfiction hasn't been hit quite as hard as fiction, but in the long run I think books of all kinds will be affected. The only exceptions may be books that are intended for display, like art books.

There are pluses and minuses to just about any situation. I can see some definite advantages to the brave new world I sketched out. And perhaps some way of cashing in on self-published books will be developed. People are pretty ingenious when it comes to making money ...

"Instead, writers will write what they want to write - what they believe in and feel passionate about."

Which, of course, is what you do in this blog, making people like me very happy.

Boy—you've hit on a topic that is really relevant for me today. I'm deeply invested, at the moment, in exploring the self-publishing model. For the past three years I've been creating an instructional website. It's an online book, really, but it adds to the mix lots of graphics and videos. If I may self-plug here, it's called Online Piano Lessons.

Can I make any money doing this? I don't know! I'm doing my damnedest to make it work. I'm 63 years old (today!), and I'm seeing this as my hope for some sort of financial security. Hey—ease and freedom would be nice too! (Teaching private piano lessons, as I've being doing for many years, is not the ideal way to generate wealth.)

Your entry today is both sobering and fascinating. But I love its tone, and it's exactly what I would expect from someone whose passion is writing about how forms (I'm thinking of the physical body here) are born, thrive, and then dissolve. Yes—the way writing is disseminated is changing, and that's neither good nor bad.

Or rather, it's ALL good. (Don't know if you'd agree with this, but my intuition, and my deepest spiritual experiences, tell me so.)

(Which reminds that I was reading an article in the New York Times yesterday, and was surprised to see a journalist say something like, "And suddenly he was able to perceive the situation with nearly out-of-body clarity." In a paper whose official (if unspoken) stance is that psychic phenonema are not to be taken seriously, it was a pleasure to see that one of its writers may just have a different perspective.)

Anyway, I began publicizing the site just this week, and am encouraged. I haven't been expecting to take in much money (if any) from the limited content now up there. But I've been corresponding all week with a teacher in Florida who visited my site, and has been using it with her new 13-year-old student. Boy, does that make me feel good! (A category of experience that you, Michael, have enjoyed often in your creative life, I'm sure.)

And last night, I stayed up to 6:30 AM creating a Google Adwords campaign for the site. After sleeping for several hours, I woke up to see that about 20 people had visited the site, and a fair percentage had looked at a dozen or more pages.

With the analytical tools available, this is a highly addictive activity. Eyes glued to my computer screen, I watched in real time, as a guy from the UK looked at one after another of those pages and videos I've worked so hard—and lovingly—on over the past three years. Talk about excitement!

Anyway, whether I'm experiencing the first flush of success of a profitable venture, or merely the results of offering a lot of free pages (to entice subscriptions that aren't yet happening), who knows?!

"whose passion is writing about how forms (I'm thinking of the physical body here) are born, thrive, and then dissolve."

I meant to conclude that sentence with—"but something spectacular, it would seem, remains."

It's not only publishing that is seeing these changes. Digital filmmaking and music tools such as My Space are transforming those art forms as well.

The problem is, it's too early to tell if it is a success or not. Not everyone is a great artist and there will still be plenty of dross out there. For every interesting blog (such as this one), how many poor ones are there? The audience will only want to be gratified, not to search out an experience.

After all, in ten years' time, the Best Picture Oscar could go to Man Getting Hit in the Groin.

It would be a sad day indeed if writing was to dissapear in preference to ebooks.

I had a chance to see what a ebook looks like as a friend has one complete with softeware in a small compact that she carries around and reads while exercising on the treadmill at a public gym.

I think to read online is not the same as reading a book while turning pages. something gets lost in the translation of what the mind and eye are seeing in cyperspace.. the mind just absorbs better and with more clarity for recalling [Every Detail] that books rend.

For instance I like to hear the bible on audio cassetts and when I am challenged to recall names or importance on the spot I miss whole segements of that verse because it moves rapidly, even tho i memorize sufficiently the general idea, the names gets lost ,don,t know if its because of the sheer volume of names to keep track of or the act of repetition that turns the mind off after awhile? I think ebooks would fall in the same catagory and be monotanous after awhile- so don,t dispair, books are here to stay because of the thought and page like a dream is always sought after.

I think of books the way many people are now looking at old vinyl records. Vinyl records were old technology, out-dated antiques... but they convey information in a way that is lost in digital formats. They have a soul that seems missing in my ipod. I can't carry a record player around when I'm walking in the park, but there is still a place in my life for vinyl records.

Books have such appeal to me. I like my Sony reader for carrying technical journals and books to do with my research, but I love to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea on the weekend. A real book.

I think people are starting to miss things like old records, real books, handmade gifts, good food... the list goes on. The world is changing, but I think there is a growing trend towards rediscovering some of the good things that were left behind in our hurry to embrace technology.

I do think buying books online instead of in stores makes sense. I miss old fashioned bookstores. The big mega bookstores are not my favorite thing. I miss the little shops with interesting books that the guy sitting at the cash has read and can tell you about. Those places are pretty much gone. Now I see what my blogging friends are reading and enjoying so I can order what I want online.

I hope real books will be with us for a while. Sitting on the beach with my Sony reader just wouldn't be the same.

Michael, it's astonishing that books made any money at all for either their authors or their publishers when you consider the amount of labor that went into making a book. Here's a clip of how books were made in 1947.

Yikes! Bennett Cerf must have swallowed hard before publishing the 1000+ pages of Atlas Shrugged!

Good Luck with iUniverse!

“I think ebooks would fall in the same category and be monotonous after awhile- so don’t despair, books are here to stay because of the thought and page like a dream is always sought after.”

Our local bookstore always seems to have a lot of people milling around and purchasing books. When TV’s first came out most movie theaters went broke but now they are back. I don’t think I am an exception but books are a part of my life.

As far as a brave new world often fate has something else in store for us; what often looks like a rejection sometimes ends up being the very direction fate had in store for us all along.

At least this website thinks fate will have much to do with our lives.

Fate sure appeared to have much to do with my life but it is difficult to see while life is happening.

Beside fate I suspect more and more spiritual influence from the other side has much to do with many lives and the directions they may take.

Bruce- good luck with your venture!

Michael- I used to print for a software company. When the programmers needed a book, I would offer it to them on a digital disk or hardcopy (paper). At first the digital versions had some appeal, but before long all the requests were for hardcopy.
I notice vinyl is making a come back (although it will never be the only form ever again)
I wonder if I will ever realize that the newest thing is not always the best thing.

Thanks, Sonic!

I think people are starting to miss things like old records, real books, handmade gifts, good food... the list goes on. The world is changing, but I think there is a growing trend towards rediscovering some of the good things that were left behind in our hurry to embrace technology.

I sense the same thing that Sandy has suggested here. It's as if there's a sort of undercurrent out there, a longing for a simpler life that I think many share.

The explosion of technology over the past few decades has meant tremendous change across the board, but the trade-off has manifested as a frenetic pace of life. I'm old enough to recall the optimism in the business world that all of the new technology would would lead not only to increased productivity, but to more free time, less stress and thus happier and more productive employees.

Yet, what has actually happened is that impatience and a sense of entitlement to instant gratification has increased in lockstep with the technological explosion. If anything, stress levels are higher today than they were twenty years ago. Twenty years ago, a client would leave a message and be perfectly happy with a return call the next morning - today most are enraged if an inquiry isn't responded to inside of fifteen minutes.

It's not healthy, and I think more and more people are beginning to question core premises in all aspects of life. I could be wrong. I do wonder about the generation in their late teens or early twenties today, who have never known a world without the internet, cell phones, email, texting, Blackberries and all the rest. Perhaps they're content with the chaotic pace, although the ridiculous rise in depression and other serious mental health issues leads me to believe otherwise.

I also wonder if the changes taking place in the fiction publishing world don't have more to do with the chaotic mindset that prevails today rather than distribution methodology. How many people out there take the time to relax and curl up with a good novel, to lose themselves momentarily in the world a good writer has presented to them? I'd like to know what percentage of today's population actually has sat down to read any novel in the last year. I suspect it's a significantly lower percentage than two, three or four decades ago.

I don't know. Any speculation about a brave new world is only speculation - it exists only in the form of thought in the current moment. It wouldn't surprise me if the brave new world that emerges in another half-century will have more to do with a shift away from the relentless onslaught of technology and towards a deeper respect for a saner pace of life.

Regardless, anyone who chooses to pursue creative endeavors as a means to make a living are currently facing new and different challenges. I wish you the best of luck with the self-publishing avenue, MP. To leave your work on a flash-drive would be a shame, and you may be surprised by what results from your efforts.

Just to be clear, I'm not saying that all books will be ebooks. As I said in the main post, print-on-demand will be part of the mix. POD books are regular printed books. The difference is that they are not mass produced. They are printed one copy at a time as orders come in.

Already POD books make up a very significant percentage of new titles. I think I recall reading that POD may actually have outpaced commercial book publishing recently - not in terms of copies sold, but in terms of titles produced.

I expect that in the future most books will be available in both ebook and POD editions. Since neither format requires the resources of a major publishing house, I expect small publishers with lower overhead to proliferate while the big houses decline.

"Our local bookstore always seems to have a lot of people milling around and purchasing books."

That's good, but the broader trends are bad. Here's Barron's on Barnes & Noble:

"Over the last three years, Barnes & Noble sales have grown at a compound-annual rate of less than 1% and net income has fallen on average by 16%, according to data from Standard & Poor's Equity Research."

Meanwhile, the stock of rival bookseller Borders has dropped from $4.48 to $1.42 per share. The company is flirting with bankruptcy.

Books-A-Million, another large chain, has seen its stock fall from $15 to $6.29 in the past year.

"I also wonder if the changes taking place in the fiction publishing world don't have more to do with the chaotic mindset that prevails today rather than distribution methodology. How many people out there take the time to relax and curl up with a good novel ...?"

That's definitely true. People today want constant stimulation. They want the TV on while they surf the Net and take a call on their cell phone. They have become stimulation junkies, and reading is not well-suited to that lifestyle. But there will always be some people who do curl up with a book, even if they are increasingly in the minority.

I do wonder about the generation in their late teens or early twenties today, who have never known a world without the internet, cell phones, email, texting, Blackberries and all the rest.

It does take a toll on them. When I did my first undergraduate degree, I can't remember anyone committing suicide on campus. I had time for fun despite working at least one and sometimes two jobs to pay my way through school. There were concerts and parties on campus. You went to the campus pub between classes with your friends.

It's 25 years later, and things are very different. The campus pubs are now coffee shops because the university doesn't allow activities on campus involving alcohol due to concerns with liability. Last year a car full of drunk students returning to residence from an off-campus bar was in an accident just outside of campus. Three of them died. But it wasn't the universities fault. The university thinks it is doing a great job by banning all fun on campus.

You don't see students talking to each other very often. They sit around tables in the coffee shops texting away furiously while ignoring the person next to them.

If a professor or TA doesn't respond to an email from a student immediately, the student will often send out a stream of abusive emails as a means of getting attention. They also routinely threaten professors and other students on internet based class message boards. Professors, being from a very different generation, have no clue how to cope with this kind of behavior.

The saddest part is the problem with suicides on campus. There have been quite a few here in the last couple of years. The university does what it can to limit it's liability, but doesn't do what it should to provide access to counselling services. Allowing the sorts of activities that used to promote fellowship among students would help too. But then there are all those nasty liability issues. The students know something is wrong, but they don't quite know what to do about it.

These are my views and not to be taken as fact.

Since the dawn of human kind it appears that often many believe that the human species is going downhill fast. There is a movement on the entire planet towards a oneness of mind at a snails pace but the universe has patience. We have moved from gathers, to hunters and gathers as clans to tribes to nations to global allegiances to a greater degree of oneness.

We all share one common source and that makes us all expressions of this source and therefore we are all connected and seek understanding of self and others. Consciousness connects us all in spite of our perceived differences.

What looks like a decline may be the chaos that is associated with this movement towards oneness of mind? Printed books, radio, TV have been and now the Internet is a huge movement in that direction. Chaos will reign while this transformation takes place.

Reality may be perfectly imperfect and what may be imperfect and chaos in our eyes may have an underlying reality of a movement towards greater perfection or at least the necessary elements for a major transformation to occur.

Maybe for a major paradigm shift to occur there is chaos during that period of transformation. As one of my favorite authors writes there are two ways to learn: wisdom and suffering and most in the world will most often choose suffering. I think in this life or past lives we all have chosen suffering in some form or another.

This overdigitalization is kinda worrying me, we are putting to much of our history and memories in very fragile digital media without even thinking in backing up all that in a more durable physical support, it just take single major catastrophe or a simple Solar storm to destroy or left unaccsesible billions of bytes of important data like photos, mail, music, documents and now entire books! Many of this data is now not even stored in our own computers but in the external servers of the big social networks and blogs. Think about how sad would be if suddenly all these great blogposts meditations, resouces and comments were all erased from the internet forever.

“Think about how sad would be if suddenly all these great blogposts meditations, resources and comments were all erased from the Internet forever.”

Families may have to come out from behind their computers and blackberries and phones and texting and actually talk to one another in a live format.

This brave new world will teach humanity many harsh lessons. Earth is like one big schoolhouse lessons after lessons until we get it right or close to right. Then I suspect off to another dimension to learn more lessons.

This bit of wisdom below from the book testimony of light by Helen Greaves given to her from her long time friend Frances Banks from the other side.

“The “serial life” from one plane to another, from one experience to another, from one group to another, from one adventure to another, from partial understanding to deeper comprehension, from apparent separation to inherent unity and on to the bliss of Divine Reality, that to me as far as I have progressed and as clearly as my growing understanding has shown me to be the “glorious truths” as Dr. Weatherhead says of the Christians or any other religion which emphasis’s the here and the hereafter.”

For those interested in what lies ahead for a person that has devoted their life to service to others and teaching others and seeking for herself spiritual knowledge their entire life this book may be a worthwhile read.

But without professional writers making their sole living as writers and devoting their "main" hours to it, rather than as a hobby, I think the craft of the trade will decline substantially.

It sounds like a grim future for writing unless a few people get paid...most importantly the writers.

I should have gone into investment banking.

I should have gone into investment banking.

I don't know, Stephen. If there's anything that seems clear to me over the past few years, it's that success in investment banking requires moral bankruptcy, coupled with supreme arrogance.

And I'm a capitalist.

I do wonder what the Madoff's of the world will experience when they finally wake up, which they inevitably will, sooner or later, "alive" or "dead".

“And I'm a capitalist.”

1 : a person who has capital especially invested in business ; broadly : a person of wealth : plutocrat
2 : a person who favors capitalism

: An economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market

I was surprised to see that you consider yourself a capitalist Michael H. from my point of view we keep blaming individuals, congress, Wall Street, banks and whoever rather than look at the system. A system or subsystems within an organization will contribute to over 85% of the problems and defects in that organization. It works the same way with a nation. System or systems have a profound impact on human behavior.

An individualistic society has a very difficult time understanding this aspect of a system’s influence on human behavior.

Communism as a system had so many problems and defects only fear kept it going as long as it did. It would have self destructed all on its own; it did not need defeated by a military. I.e. central planning, lack of private ownership of food supply by the middle class, gov control of media, imperialism, dysfunctional ideology, the list is long.

When communism failed I told others that capitalism at least capitalism American style would fail within 15 years. I was off by 5 years. The dot com revolution came into being. Capitalism left unchecked will result in a society with profound inequalities and create a society of haves and have nots. The middle class is a must to maintain a stable and prospering knowledge value society. When Rome lost its middle class and interesting to me its small farms it self-destructed.

Capitalism left unchecked is social Darwinism with all the elements of human greed and arrogance as Michael H pointed out. One result of capitalism left unchecked is corporations get so big they cannot be allowed to fail. Also they can get so big they can eliminate all or most of their competition.

Does private ownership work for a military?
Does private ownership work for a police dept?
Does private ownership work for a fire dept?
Does private ownership work for care of the sick and needy?
Does private ownership work for prisons?
Does education work for all with private ownership?

It appears there needs to be a delicate balance between gov and private ownership. I suspect all nations are working on finding that delicate balance.

Maybe a middle path until the human species can figure out what works best and align their organizations and institutions with these spiritual laws that exist in the universe. Spiritual laws apply to all aspects of a society even corporations and nations and their ideologies.

I was surprised to see that you consider yourself a capitalist Michael H.

People need to be free, William.

Books sales down sharply in January in Seattle -- long story in the Seattle Times at

One additional factor favoring the decline of the traditional print-model that MP didn't mention is the wide availability of free "classic" e-books from Google & the Gutenberg Project. After five years I think this will drive the price of current e-book fiction down to $5 or so. That in turn will tend to disintermediate publishing houses. No room for the middleman. Buyers will rely on Amazon reviews and "suggestions" ("readers who bought books you've bought also bought these books"). It could work out for the best, or the not-so-bad, eventually.

The mention of the newspaper industry in the article you linked was interesting as well, Roger, and another example of how the Internet is changing the world. It's hard to see how journalism is going to survive going forward.

The New York Times is going to a subscription model for online content next year, and there are many questions as to how the decision will affect their web traffic. Will people pay for news? I might pay to read certain columnists - I enjoy both David Brooks and Maureen Dowd - the former because he's a pretty expansive and reasonable thinker, the latter because I find great amusement in how someone can be such a bright and witty writer while remaining completely clueless about her own bitterness and her core assumptions - not to mention how the two are related.

But will I pay the New York Times to read about the latest earthquake? Not when there's virtually unlimited other sources available for free.

It would have been ridiculous to think that the New York Times might fail a decade ago, but now it's a real possibility. It does raise some pretty serious questions, like what is the future of investigative reporting? There's little doubt that Watergate wouldn't have unraveled without the efforts and payroll of the Washington Post. Bill Moyers had a couple of guests a few weeks ago who were advocating government subsidies for the journalism industry as a way to keep investigative reporting alive.

How's that for an idea? I'm not sure how people would feel about their tax dollars going to support The Wall Street Journal.

Thanks for the link, Roger. That article perfectly encapsulates the situation I'm describing.

The machine that prints out books to order is one form of print-on-demand technology, which may be the only way to keep physical books (as opposed to ebooks) in existence.

To me, the most remarkable part of the article was this:

"Two weeks ago the city of Laredo, Texas, lost its last bookstore. Now to walk the aisles and touch a book, they have to drive 150 miles to San Antonio. Laredo's no podunk place — with 220,000 people, it's bigger than every city here, save Seattle."

A metro area of 220,000 without a single bookstore is a pretty clear harbinger of things to come.

Digital data doesn't last as long and you need machinery to access it.

All the information you can put on a USB stick is great, until you lack a way of getting it off.

Books may be bulkier and not as easy to move in bulk, but they can be accessed with a working hand and a lit candle.

I think this increasing reliance on digital data and easily damaged micro-circuitry with no redundant hard copies is an insane leap of faith in highly complex and vulnerable technologies.

It's reversing the wisdom of, "Prepare for the worst and hope for the best" into "Prepare for the best and hope for the best."

I hope the Internet is eventually modified so that micro-payments can be handled invisibly and integrated easily. They will have to be low -- I wouldn't want to pay more than $1 a day, because that will add up to $365 a year. It may be hard to persuade content providers to charge such a low rate, because it would only amount to enough if the volume is heavy. But the volume won't be heavy unless the rate is low.

That sort of chicken-and-egg situation is facing Apple with its new iPad. So far I haven't seen the low-cost content subscription bundles from periodicals that would make it a must-have purchase. The providers are probably figuring that the trouble of formatting their content for the new device needs to be compensated for. But until the cost is low, too few buyers will step up to the plate. I hope somehow the logjam will be broken.

And to "highly complex and vulnerable technologies" I neglected to add "decaying."

How many people have floppy disks with information on them but neither the working computers or software to get that information anymore?

I love to write; I've been writing since I was about 12, and I've got some of those floppies.

I probably have lots of company.

"In the streets of Laredo
sad story,
dying today."

I’ve discovered, after a dozen failures, how to post clickable links using html tags – i.e., tags inside angle brackets. There are two things to learn: the html “skeleton,” and the two spots within the skeleton where the URL and its visible representation should be pasted. Here’s the skeleton with parentheses used in place of angle brackets:

(a href=””)(/a)

What you want to do is paste the actual URL in between the quotation marks. Then, between the two angle brackets >< you can either place the URL again (in which case that is what will be visible to the reader), or a human-language description of the URL.

If you find it hard to remember the skeleton, type it into a few Word files and copy and paste it into the comment box in the blog where you want to use it. Then copy and paste the URL (between the quotation marks). Then type in the description of the URL (between the angle brackets).

Not so fast with books. When I was young they said that it was the end of an era with TV replacing movie theaters. I went to see a 3d movie last week and it was sold out at 14 dollars a ticket. I cherish my keeper books but then I am of the senior generation. There is a world movement towards oneness and that means communication across nations and cherished beliefs and do I dare say ism’s.

“People need to be free, William.”

Capitalism as with any ism is not freedom. Spiritual reality is freedom not ism’s. I looked up the 234 ism’s and I found one maybe two isms that may be an exception and does not restrict freedom to some degree.

The ism’s such as communism, socialism, capitalism, individualism, terrorism, nationalism, patriotism, materialism, behaviorism, egoism, dualism, intellectualism, messianism, yes-even spiritualism is anything but free and can be very troublesome. The stronger the beliefs in an ism the more troublesome it becomes.

It appears one must become an observer rather than a participant to see this karmic self-destructive affects inherent in these ism’s.

The interesting aspects of about ism’s is that they teach us lessons by a cosmic principle most call karma better defined as what we sow we reap. The spiritualist law of progress depends greatly on this karmic principle.

Political, economic, and ideological systems also have karmic principles that apply to individuals and at a societal level.

The purer the capitalist system the fewer and fewer individuals will control the press, the media, the elected officials, the military, the stock market (wall street), banks, and even reach to its supreme courts. And of course in time one per cent of the population will have 95 to 99% of the wealth. Money is power in a materialistic society.

We have a situation now where those that have helped to create the economic crisis on Wall Street are now top economic advisors in the white house. Point” few very few are in control of the wealth.

In time great suffering will come to any society from these ism’s. But lessons will be learned that is the good news but not until much suffering is endured. Economic systems have a profound impact on societal behavior.

That has been my point systems must reflect spiritual principles or self-destruction occurs. Communism failed, as it did not reflect these principles. In fact I am trying to think of one spiritual principle that it did reflect.

"Two weeks ago the city of Laredo, Texas, lost its last bookstore. Now to walk the aisles and touch a book, they have to drive 150 miles to San Antonio. Laredo's no podunk place — with 220,000 people, it's bigger than every city here, save Seattle."

Yes, but on the positive side, barbecues and shooting empty beer bottles off fence posts is still as popular in Laredo as it's ever been.

(My apologies to Laredo and Laredoans. I couldn't resist.: ))

MP, not until this post did I have a look at on demand publishing. Fascinating idea.

Can you recommend any specific on demand publishing companies to look into?

Two POD publishers are LuLu and Xlibris. More could be found by Googling.

A free country is one with 57 varieties of state (per Obama), which residents can select by beating feet. Billets, not ballots!

IUniverse is a well-known POD publisher.

Michael, I've been talking with other writers about this for a couple of years now. I've even launched a blog and a coaching program related to it called The Entrepreneurial Writer. It's clear that the old model is broken, and worse, millions of would-be writers still buy into the "New York publisher as sugar daddy" myth, when they should be creating their own opportunities.

Things like POD, the iPad and other new technologies—not to mention cheaper and cheaper one-off printers like the Espresso, which you will see in Starbucks within the next year, making it possible to order your POD copy of a book while you're waiting for your venti latte—will address some of the piracy problems. Encoded e-book files that can only work with certain devices are only one solution. There will be others.

But what the new technology also does is empower writers to create new revenue streams for their work, so they can actually earn a living. Embedded ads, subscription content, mobile apps based on book content—there are a lot of possibilities. These days, with publishers buying so little, not supporting their authors and paying such a pittance to the ones they do publish, it's clear that the time is now to change the game.

Best of luck in your new venture.

Thanks, Tim, for your kind words.

Here's one person who loves ebooks and can no longer stand buying or owning printed books:

To some extent I can relate. Huge piles of books everywhere can start to feel pretty confining.

"To some extent I can relate. Huge piles of books everywhere can start to feel pretty confining."

Yes, if you have a lot of them.

It's a tradeoff. As I get older I seem to be valuing convenient technologies less, actually. I HAD a cell phone. Can't tell you how much happier I am WITHOUT one. And I will probably use Ethernet until I have no choice but to use a Wi Fi connection.

Here are some really good things about books:

1. If I drop a book, I won't break it.

2. My books don't need batteries or chargers.

3. My books are in no danger of malfunctioning; thus, I don't have to take them to anyone to have them fixed.

4. When new editions of books I like come out, they do not usually make the old editions obsolete.

5. It may be way cool to carry lots and lots of books around on a computer, but since I've never needed to carry a library of hardbacks around with me, this is not a benefit.

Don't you ever go on holiday and take a few books dm? :)

Paul: I'm always reading something wherever I am. But a few I can carry. That's all I need at any given time, especially away from home.

So in other words point 5 should've read:

5. I can carry all the books I need at any given moment with nearly the same convenience as a reader, and with none of the drawbacks.

Those are all good points, dmduncan. It *is* a trade-off. Another advantage of traditional books is that if someone steals your book on the subway, you're out only a few bucks. If they steal your Kindle, you're out $300.

Still, I think the economics of the situation will eventually dictate an end to conventional publishing.

There will probably still be printed books, but they will mostly be print-on-demand, I think.

Of course it will take a while for this to happen. Manhattan publishing may be the Titanic, but even the Titanic took some time to go down.

"Of course it will take a while for this to happen. Manhattan publishing may be the Titanic, but even the Titanic took some time to go down."

I agree.

And as the model changes and people are successful in POD and eBooks then I suppose people will look back at the old model like we look back at wooden wheels.

I guess the key to being successful at it, no matter, what is good promotion.

Recalling your Brienne Cross post I'm wondering if promotion is more of a burden on the writer in the POD/eBook model.

"I'm wondering if promotion is more of a burden on the writer in the POD/eBook model."

Definitely - at least for those authors who are seeking a wider audience. The big publishing houses would do a lot to promote certain "star" authors (though not much for the typical midlist author). Now, increasingly, they want a product that is presold - a book by someone who is already famous, for instance.

With ebooks and POD, it will be entirely up to the author to get noticed.

LOL OK dm thanks for the clarification :)

"Instead, writers will write what they want to write - what they believe in and feel passionate about. There may not be much money in it, and they may have to settle for a smaller audience, but at least they will be writing from the heart, rather than aiming for a paycheck. That may be a big step forward, in the long run."

This is very well said, Michael. When you write from the heart, it is as though you are the Creator, and what you are writing is a part of the Universe. Your heart (or your soul) becomes like like molten metal seeking a mould.

POD seems like a good middle ground between self-publishing and old school, but what I've found with PublishAmerica is that they have fuzzy math skills.
With PDF files and desk top publishing it is getting easier and easier to do it yourself and not deal with a middleman who has you by the balls.
What I've learned since publishing my first book is that once it's out there you stop being an author and start being an advertising executive. The energy and effort in marketing your product is much more exhaustive than the writing of it.

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