CONSIDERING THE FUTURE OF READING: LESSONS, LINKS AND THOUGHT EXPERIMENTS
"In 2008, The New York Times published a series called “The Future of Reading” in which some of these questions were raised. Three years later, that “future” is evolving at such a rapid rate that stories on the topic crop up regularly in every section of the paper, from Business and Books to Style, Education and Opinion.
In this post, we’ve collected and categorized many of those articles, and, for each category, suggested ideas for classroom inquiry."
The New York Times
ON THE MYTH THAT MORE EBOOKS WILL MEAN FEWER READERS, OR WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE PIE METAPHOR
"It’s certainly true that competition will grow. It will also become tougher to connect with readers. And the number of readers is ultimately finite. But the pie metaphor misleads because it suggests that the more readers you have, the fewer I have — and the fewer I can have. In broadcast media, where distribution channels were finite and limited, this was more or less how it worked.
In a network environment, this isn’t quite how it works. We don’t really fight over pieces of a finite pie. What we do, I think, is something closer to growing our own little garden."
The Fall of Print | @rfrancisbc
UNCOVERING AMAZON PUBLISHING
"One thing that seems true, at least for the moment, is that Amazon has little ability to move physical copies of its own books. Oliver Pötzsch’s “The Hangman’s Daughter,” a big e-book success, may have sold a quarter-million digital copies but only a handful of readers bought the physical book — at least until Houghton Miffflin Harcourt bought the rights to its own edition and distributed it to independent booksellers. That version has been a modest best seller.
Internet companies generally hate things that do not scale, which might eventually temper Amazon’s enthusiasm for acquiring, editing and publicizing books."
The New York Times
WHAT HAPPENS TO OWNERSHIP AS THE WORLD GOES DIGITAL?
"In the not-so-distant past, many people thought that someday we would all have giant servers inside our houses, where we would store the gigabytes and even terabytes of movies, music, photos and other content we either buy or create — and many people I know have either bought or built their own home-media servers to do exactly that. I have one myself, attached to my television. But as I look at all of the hundreds of movies and thousands of songs on it, I wonder whether it makes any sense any more to own that data, when I can stream much of it over the Internet fairly cheaply through a variety of services."
Gigaom | @mathewi
TABLET WARS: WHY AMAZON DOESN'T SCARE APPLE (AND B&N SCARES NO ONE)
"Sarah Rotman Epps, a senior analyst with Forrester Research, told us the Fire really benefits everyone with a stake in the mobile game.
“The Kindle Fire is a good thing for Apple,” she says, “because it expands the addressable market for tablets. The Fire grows the whole pie, and Apple still takes the biggest share. The Kindle Fire is also a good thing for the Android ecosystem because people will actually buy this device, which will spur developers to create apps for it, which they can then port over to other Android devices. Android is already fragmented, and one more device doesn’t change that significantly.”"
Wired | @MJ_Isaac
GOING INDIE WITH THE BIG BOYS
"In the new frugality, price points are deciding points. Publishing entities which can’t charge less for books will likely sell fewer of them. Those which can could wind up “owning” a niche or niches in the book industry. The best examples of the phenomenon are indie ebooks, whose author’s price their works far lower than a trad pubbed title.
How can they afford to charge less? One of the defining characteristics of an indie book is that the author pays for the greater part of the book’s production gaining a larger chunk of the proceeds. This same line of reasoning works for these hybrid titles too. The greater part of the work is done in-house and many standard publishing practices—such as advances—are done away with. Authors receive a percentage from the book’s sales."
RETHINKING THE DIGITAL FUTURE
"An inclusive ‘book’ marketplace perspective could change not only how we do business, the speed in which we do business but the relationships within the business? It could remove some of the adversarial and holier than thou attitudes that continue to dog the industry. It could create a new level of interest and participation that is more organic and spontaneous than today’s often ‘manufactured’ approach.
This holistic marketplace may appear unfamiliar, dangerous, exciting and to some a bridge too far, but it is the direction that technology, social networking and networks are clearly taking us today. We don’t fully understand the implications on today’s roles, processes and business and the route is somewhat dynamic and unpredictable but it is happening and the genie is not going back in the bottle."