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The Future of Reading AND Publishing; and music? October 30, 2009

Posted by pupfiction in Uncategorized.
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LibraryJournal.com, the online companion to the eponymous periodical read by all types of librarians nationwide, has just posted an article entitled “The Future of Reading”. This article is important for anyone interested in emerging technologies, business, and information. This article is great because it points to a number of new (or increasingly popular) trends in reading: e-books, graphic novels, kindles, audiobooks, even cellphone novels. While many believe that librarians are luddites, clinging to their dusty out-of-print books and handwritten card catalogs (we are not), this article shows that libraries and librarians are willing (and enthusiastically willing!) to change and meet the needs of today’s “reader”, whatever that may mean.

While this is a comprehensive article from the librarians’ point of view, it doesn’t take into account what publishers and authors might be concerned with and that’s the illegal proliferation of their work online. One author has circumvented this process and made much of his work available for free online: the award-winning Cory Doctorow. His site, craphound.com, provides free downloadable versions of many of his works including the well-reviewed Little Brother, “a daring gesture,” which the New York Times book review notes, “hasn’t hurt its print sales in the least”.

Doctorow’s move reminds me of Radiohead’s unprecedented release of their most recent album, In Rainbows (2007), in digital format for whatever price the consumer was willing to pay. When the actual album was finally released in “hard copy” (aka CD), it topped both the UK Album Chart and the US Billboard 200.

What do these counter-intuitive occurrences mean? I think it means people will still pay for things worth paying for. What do you think?

 

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1. dataduchess - November 3, 2009

I agree. I think that is true of all kinds of goods and services – when prices match value, people will pay. When I am shopping, I usually decide what I am willing to pay for an item, or how much that product is worth to me. I only buy it if the actual price is competitive with my predetermined self-imposed value. It is a strategy that has worked for me in getting me to evaluate how much I really need/want something before buying – but I think the strategy works from a sales perspective as well. If items were priced reasonably compared to their value, volume of sales would make up for smaller profit margins.

2. What the National Book Awards tell us about the publishing industry « The Infomavens' Desktop - November 19, 2009

[…] have gone through for a while. And like the musicians, the writers need to understand, like Cory Doctorow does (and like all librarians do), the need to evolve in order to stay […]


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