Posts Tagged ‘James Gleick’

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Gleick on publishing

December 9, 2008

Hmm … where to start? I know, how about the beginning? James Gleick tackles the challenges facing the publishing industry and offers some helpful thoughts for writers in these developing and often depressing times:

The gloom that has fallen over the book publishing industry is different from the mood in, say, home building. At least people know we’ll always need houses.

And now comes the news, as book sales plummet amid the onslaught of digital media, that authors, publishers and Google have reached a historic agreement to allow the scanning and digitizing of something very much like All the World’s Books. So here is the long dreamed-of universal library, its contents available (more or less) to every computer screen anywhere. Are you happy now? Maybe not, if your business has been the marketing, distributing or archiving of books.

One could imagine the book, venerable as it is, just vanishing into the ether. It melts into all the other information species searchable through Google’s most democratic of engines: the Web pages, the blogs, the organs of printed and broadcast news, the general chatter. (Thanks for everything, Gutenberg, and now goodbye.)

Ouch. But don’t be discouraged. Gleick notes that he doesn’t see things in the same terms, and even suggests that “we’ve reached a shining moment for this ancient technology”.
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