Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

The Future of Reading . . .


There’s so much in the press about Reading; but, most of it pretends it’s about Publishing… 

Future of Reading

Image courtesy of guillermo ossa ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/memoossa

Will digital kill print?

Will self-publishing kill the traditional houses?

And, all the authors feel compelled to share their opinions—opinions only since hard facts in the realm of books are so difficult to find

Of course, the prevailing opinion is that readers are consumers and authors must feed that consumption.

What’s happened to authors as Unique Creators and Readers as the Most Privileged People on the planet?

Things are so frenzied that even my attempt to introduce what I want to share in this post has almost slipped away from me

I’ve been covering the Reading-Writing-Publishing Beat for over three years and the Top Tags widget in the left side-bar clearly shows what I’ve felt most compelled to explore.

Devoted tagging of the 887 posts I’ve published shows certain major topics rising up, like Writer’s Resources and Self-Publishing and Reading and Author Interviews.

But, the most numerous are tagged Notes from An Alien

Not merely because that’s the name of the novel I wrote that’s for sale and will also always be free.

It’s because of what that novel tried to say about our world and, more importantly, that the words “Notes from An Alien” most perfectly describe me and what I try to do five days a week in this blog—find some sense in what’s happening in the Book World as our civilization goes through the biggest transformation humanity has ever faced

So, peripatetic introduction having been spun out, consider the Future of Reading through the lens of an article in Publishing Perspectives from the London Book Fair—LBF’s Digital Minds: The Golden Age or End of the Book?

A few snippets:

“…in a roundtable discussion that ended the day, a question was posed by Random House’s Dan Franklin that seemed to summarize the philosophical bent of the day. ‘Is this a golden age for publishing or the end of the era of the book?’”

“’It’s the beginning of a change in readership’, replied  Dominique Raccah.”

“’It’s the golden age for the access to stories’, said author Nick Harkaway.”

“’It’s the beginning of a new age for the author’, says Kobo’s Michael Tamblyn.”

My comments:

Certainly, books need authors to write them and some method of publishing them; but, Readers (not “readership”) are the reason for books.

Certainly, access to reading is opening up.

Certainly, one can hope authors are beginning to enter the New Age that’s dawning

Now, trying to keep the focus on Readers, let’s briefly explore an article about the UK head of Penguin Random House in The Guardian—Tom Weldon: ‘Some say publishing is in trouble. They are completely wrong’.

One snippet:

“While Amazon tempts browsers with recommendations based on their search history, Weldon thinks traditional publishers need something more personal. They have to get to know their readers: ‘Where do they hang out, what do they like, how do we talk to them?’ The company is still in the early stages of this process, but is seeking this ‘direct relationship with readers to tell them about the books they might fall in love with’.”

My comment:

Traditional publishing has been around for quite some time now Why are they still “in the early stages” of being concerned about a direct relationship with their readers?

Another article from The Guardian—Publishing: we can’t see the right track for all the digital platforms—has this:

“Last year, the Pew Research Centre, an independent thinktank, reported that people under 30 were now reading more books than they were 10 years ago, and in more formats than ever before. We know this anecdotally, from experience. Step on to any bus, plane or train. A majority will be engrossed in the written word, in some form.”

So

There appears to be some hope for the Dear Reader; yet, I wonder if all the Access is providing a truly Valuable reading experience

And, what’s up with all this talk of bookstores disappearing?

Perhaps, it’s only certain kinds of bookstores?

I’ll leave you, my Dear Readers, with a bit of Refreshment:

Visit Parnassus Books, where the owner says some fascinating things, like:

“You may have heard the news that the independent bookstore is dead, that books are dead, that maybe even reading is dead—to which I say: Pull up a chair, friend. I have a story to tell.”

Read Parnassus’ online Literary Journal—and, have some fun reading the blog of the editor of that Literary Journal, I Miss You When I Blink :-)
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