Pretty grandiose title, isn’t it?
Tim Spalding of LibraryThing fame has posted some interesting thoughts on the future of ebooks, the publishing industry, and ownership of books. There’s some interesting speculation here that I won’t rehash, but the short version is that I agree with a lot of what Tim says here. I do have profound worries about what the publishing and book retail industries over the course of, say, the next 5, 10, 15 years. I really am a book geek and am also worried about the future of book/reading culture, I have to admit. I’ve gone on record as saying I have almost no interest in ebooks and no plans to purchase an ebook reader. And no way am I ever going to purchase a book that I don’t retain full ownership over. Having said all that — and risking a reputation as a Luddite — I think that digital technologies are very exciting and offer some wonderful opportunities for books and reading culture, not the least of which are the amazing potentials of both print-on-demand technologies and the digitization of public domain literature (and of course the marriage of these two capabilities as well). As bibliophiles, we live in interesting times (in the Chinese curse sense).
In a tangentially-related piece, here’s an interesting NYT article on the struggles of independent booksellers as they seek new strategies to stay relevant — and open for business — in the twenty-first century.
Comments, as always, are welcome.
(Oh and I will be resuming my more frequent posting schedule, having successfully crossed a major hurdle in my academic/professional life today.)