Thanks for this. However, the salivating desire of corporations for short term profit without regard for longer term consequences is, for me, so evidently the inability to resist an overwhelming wave that I can't take your insight as a correction.
On the Kindle front, I think Google's digitization of books (with a payment program, as I understand it, something like the system I described for library lending and photocopying text) as more consequential than Kindle, whatever that product's presentation enhancements. For about the price of a Kindle I recently purchased a "notebook" computer that plays music, movies, has internet connectivity and I expect will read the Google books too. And if my fingers weren't so thick I could fiddle with my own poetry on it when I'm not otherwise entertained. Speaking of poetry, the ability of cellphone cameras to create and distribute original short narratives and impressions is more a leading edge than any form of e-book.
The key to this is not that one technology replaces another, they each have their strengths and problems, it is that digitization extends the reach of cultural content into more and more communities, even as it fractures the big markets. But few bookstores ever profited by carrying a lot of copies of one or two titles. They survived by carrying a couple of copies of many different titles, and knowing which of their various customers would like what.
So, who's going to mail me my nickel?
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, November 13, 2009 1:52 PM
Subject: RARA-AVIS: Re: state of NY publishing
--- In email@example.com, "New Pulp Press" <bassoffj@...> wrote:
> Hear, hear, Kerry! Too often industry tries to fight new technology (see the film industry with the advent of VHS, or the music industry with the advent of digital technology) instead of embracing it. Publishing is no different. We can fight POD/Kindle etc. all we want but it won't slow it down. The publishing industry has changed, no doubt. For some of us it is demoralizing. For others it is an opportunity.
Just to correct one point. The recording industry not only embraced digital technology but they largely invented it. As early as 1974, Denon was making digital recordings. It was entirely their own decision to do it that way. It was pointed early on that once the content is in digital form, it can be copied exactly and quickly, as well as distributed. The decision to join CD with computer (i.e., interoperability) was the nail on the coffin. When the Internet went commercial (was given away, let's not forget that), a second nail was driven in.
How long before somebody cracks the Kindle? I bet it has already happened. Lots of bright guys with lots to time to do it...
My point is that it wasn't just an "overwhelming wave" that the industry was unable to resist but something they did willingly. The record industry got to resell all their back catalogue as if it were new. There was a big pile of dough in that.
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