Books are going away because people don’t care. The internet has killed the book and the publishing world needs to react.
“But not many people in the industry are willing to admit of acknowledge that the internet is not the prime veichle for the dissemination of information. For everything from online news to Wikipedia (with Google tying it all together), the web is where people go where they’re looking to gain access to content. This change has already happened, and publishing now needs to react instead of preach.” Pg 41
“While those in publishing hem and haw and wearily engage in this debate at various levels, an entire generation has already decided that print is dead. Indeed, for them – raised on the internet – it might not ever have been alive.” Pg 46
He talks about the resistance to ebooks and the fact that the publishing industry has failed to understand the stage the debate has reached.
“What the critics of digital reading fail to realise is that it has already happened; people have already made substantial changes in their daily lives when it comes to digital reading.” Pg 44
He also stresses that a love of reading is importantly different from a love of books. Content versus object.
To underline the changes that are happening to readership patterns and consumption of the written word he casts an eye over the newspaper world where it is not too difficult to produce examples of change.
Falling readership levels and dropping advertising support illustrate a changing situation. He attacks the newspaper industry for failing to move with the times and accuses it of clinging on to an antiquated publishing model.
“Publishers in fact aren’t in the magazine, newspaper or book business (in the sense of these things as physical objects); they’re in the idea and story business.”pg 55
But there are economic models at work here that have been slow to adapt and if the newspapers have been slow surely it’s as a consequence of those paying for their pages to be even slower seeing change coming?
Anyway he touches on the literary critic versus blogger debate and the folding of the book review sections but that is a bit of a side debate that is probably best avoided or dealt with in much greater depth than here.