The paperless office has long been talked about but is yet to materialise but now it’s the turn of the printed book. In this interesting article, and even more interesting commentary stream that follows, Dan Agin makes the argument that many in the printed book industry will become collateral damage in the demise of the printed book.
Whilst I am inclined to agree that the life of the bookseller may become more fretful I’m not so certain that the publishers per se will not be missing out in this re-alignment. Already many are re-publishing and re-imaging their back catalogues in e-formats. It will only be when authors can bypass these largely monolithic and faceless publishing organisations and market their work that the publishers may feel the wind on their necks.
Bring on the time when e-readers become cheap enough for schools to be able to provide on the school book-list.
Once upon a time, the only books that existed were books copied by hand by monks and scribes and sold to the very rich for the equivalent of $5000 or $6000 a book. Then along came the printing press, and all the monks and scribes had to find another way to earn their bread.
Once upon a time the only books that existed were books on paper made by printing presses and sold to the rich and not so rich and not rich at all for enough money to make publishing houses worth hundreds of millions of dollars, enough money to pay high salaries to publishing executives. Then along came the digital book, and many thousands of people in and around publishing had to find another way to earn their bread.