Paul Di Filippo sent me this editorial by Richard Nash, founder of Soft Skull Press (publishers of the Get Your War on books
): "Why Publishing Cannot Be Saved (As It Is)." It's a ass-kicking take on the hackneyed cliches of those who discuss the future of the publishing industry ("Twitter/DRM/Facebook/copyright law will save us!") and is worth reading for this incredibly smart thing alone: "books are orders of magnitude more demanding of our minds than any other media."
The question increasingly arises in today's media: can publishing be saved? No. It cannot and should not. There are plenty of non-profit publishers that exist to create and distribute the un-economic content. For-profit publishing should not be saved -- it should figure out new business models, ones that offer services that both readers and writers want and are happy to pay for. We cannot wait for a deus ex machina to descend. (In other words, neither MySpace, nor Twitter, nor price-fixing, nor some new piracy-inducing extension of copyright law will save publishing -- we simply need to start doing business better.)
Why Publishing Cannot Be Saved (As It Is)
What are those services? It's premature to state definitively, but we need to start with the conversation, so that we can listen to what the readers want. Clearly the reading group is the best thing that happened to publishing in the past 30 years -- while reading is solitary, talking about books is social. Given that books are orders of magnitude more demanding of our minds than any other media, they are commensurately better reflections of our minds and identities than other media. We publishers should be servicing readers' desire to communicate about themselves with peers, offering books as the basis for connecting.
We're also going to have to recognize that reading increasingly is writing -- readers are writing back in all sorts of ways, commenting on books, re-mixing books as in fan fiction, or creating from scratch, and publishers, rather than barring this activity, or hiding from it, need to embrace it and find ways to serve it.
On the crowdfunding site Massdrop, board-game fan Cassidy Williams is taking preorders for a $160 Scrabble-themed mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Brown switches (if you've got a mechanical keyboard kicking around that you'd like to convert, you can get the $47 keycap set instead).
Sony’s Digital Mavica FD was a digital camera that saved pictures directly onto floppy disk: a wonderful convenience in an age when flash cards (and their readers) were expensive and rare. Images were saved at up to 1280×960 (1.2 megapixels!) and “not that bad”, and it takes up to 6 seconds to save them to […]
I think all modern computers should look like these vintage ones photographed by James Ball a couple of years ago. [via Wired]
The Nintendo Switch is king when it comes to gaming on the go, but it’s tough to lose yourself in Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Skyrim if your battery dies out. That’s where this Nintendo Switch Battery Charger Case comes into play. Built exclusively for Nintendo Switch, this pack allows for uninterrupted charging while you play, […]
Creative designers play a pivotal role in engaging target audiences and customers, and while companies are eager to bring more of these professionals on board, you’ll have a hard time getting your foot in the door if you’re not using the industry’s best tools. From Adobe to Maya, the eduCBA Design & Multimedia Lifetime Subscription Bundle […]
As more companies aim to reel in costs and boost productivity, project managers are becoming an essential part of many operations, and they’re paid handsomely for their expertise. But, while demand is high, you’ll have a hard time getting your foot in the door if you’re not toting the right certifications. The Official Lean Six Sigma […]