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.)
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.
Why Publishing Cannot Be Saved (As It Is)
Hearthcabinet's "Ventless Fireplaces" use "pre-filled alcohol gel cartridges" -- that is, proprietary logs. When Drew quizzed the company's reps about this on Facebook, they danced around the question, but yeah, it's proprietary logs all right. The company notes that the design is patented (the founder, a product liability attorney named Michael Weinberger, has many related […]
It being 2019, you may now buy a portable cassette player with Bluetooth functionality. Meet Its OK, a ~$65 gadget currently firing up Kickstarter. Chaim Gartenberg: the It’s OK does the usual tape things, like playing cassettes or letting you record to tapes, it also bills itself as the world’s first Bluetooth 5.0 portable cassette […]
Eurogamer’s Will Judd flirts with heresy: “Are mechanical keyboards really good for gaming?” When it comes to PC gaming peripherals, stats and specs drive purchases. Gaming monitors became popular because they offered lower latency or higher refresh rates, while gaming mice boasted higher sensitivities and improved tracking accuracy. Yet this quantitative trend doesn’t seem to […]
Vape technology has been around long enough that vapers are starting to get picky about their gear. Luckily, so are we. From disposable models to cutting-edge touchscreen atomizers, there’s a vaporizer in this roundup to suit every taste. Hera 2 – World’s Most Advanced Dual-Use Vaporizer Choose between dry herb or oil extraction modes – […]
With enough practice and commitment, anyone can be a visual artist. But without the right instruction, that time spent honing your skills could seem like an eternity. If you really want to see where your talent can take you, you need sound fundamentals – and no matter what discipline or genre you lean toward, the […]
Theoretically, there’s never been an easier time for marketers. The ubiquity of social media means a good word – or a good brand – can spread like wildfire with very little effort. But as limitless as the internet is, there’s a lot of competition and noise to contend with. And the vast graveyard of failed […]