Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Quick Primer on E-Publishing

I have to admit I've been conspicuously avoiding most talk about e-books. When the words "e-publishing," "Kindle," "iPad," "Sony Reader," and "agency model" appear, my eyes kind of glaze over. I know I should be following this stuff. I know I should be informed.

Part of my hesitancy to delve into the topic is pure denial. (Always smart.) I'd like to think that someday I'll have a physical book on a shelf in a brick-and-mortar bookstore (another term that earns the Eye Glaze. "Brick and mortar"? Did anyone even use this phrase until recently?).

Because really, who dreams of one day having a downloadable file?

But last night I read a fantastic article, "Publish or Perish," in the New Yorker, about Kindle vs iPad, publishers' attempts to set prices with e-distributors, the hope that Apple may "save" the publishing business, and various insights from staffers at the six largest publishing houses.

And click ye here for Kristin Nelson's excellent posts on the Amazon / Macmillan war as it unfolded.


  1. Wow, that New Yorker article was sobering. It will be interesting to see what happens in a year.

  2. Yeah, most items are by no means settled. I think everyone's wondering where each of the battles will go. Thanks for checking it out!

  3. I viewed digital photography the same way as you do ebooks. Something substantial about standing in total darkness, fingers guiding undeveloped rolls of film onto reels. To look through the scope to focus on the grain of the film emulsion to get the best focus of the image. Watching with nervous anticipation as the paper slides into the tray of developer; and that euphoric feeling that rushes over when the blank sheet magically transforms into an image.

    As technology evolved, digital was compared to how close it could come to traditional film. During that time, I could not help but be skeptical. Now, however, with over 12 megapixel images possible, FILM is compared to DIGITAL as the new standard.

    Granted book publishing has been a much more embroiled battlefield for royalties and printing, I hope and trust that market insiders and visionaries will force the new medium to match the needs of the tradespeople.

    Yet, keep in mind that in my garage, behind my least needed tools and boxed up "find out why this string doesn't work" christmas lights, I have boxes of my darkroom neatly packed away and ready to set up when the digital age of photography falls flat on its face and I can grin maniacally under the glow of the red lights as I say "I KNEW IT!"

  4. Great comparison, Cliff, I think this is very much like the digital film revolution, and I love your story about the darkroom packed away for later use. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Hope you and Carrie and the kids are well :)