"No one knows anything"
Over the past week I've read a variety of opinions on where ebooks are going and how fast. Are books in English going to be adopted rapidly throughout the world or are translations required? What is the future of literary agents and publishers? Who invented soft soap and why?
Do you know who William Goldman is? He used to be famous. Poor William that I say that. He was a noted novelist and screenwriter only twenty years ago. That's how fleeting fame and life is. Maybe you've heard of The Princess Bride movie. He wrote the book. And it's good.
We're in a moment of disruption, of transition. No one really knows anything. We're all speculating. But if we look at where Jeff Bezos is making his bets, I think we can learn quite a lot since he doesn't make many mistakes. Ebooks are going global, the market is expanding rapidly. Traditional publishing doesn't rule the day any longer. Ignore reality at your financial and professional peril.
I was watching The O.C. this morning and heard a song I liked so went about finding it. I learned someone involved is very green. For every CD sold, a tree will be planted in Mexico. (Why Mexico, I have no idea, but these things don't have to make sense.)
Paper publishing. Wonderful and enjoyable books can be produced. How about if just those are produced and all the books we know will be pulped are just not. Limited editions of books to be treasured and respected while all those cheap novels in the racks that have a life expectancy of 4 weeks move into digital versions only.
Why does a reader need Simon & Schuster to produce a digital novel? Let them do what they do best. Wait. I don't know what that is. Let's say a company like Harry Abrams or Schiffer who produce gorgeous coffee table books. Those are never going to be good on a digital reader. Sorry, I don't believe it. The images will be too small to be effective. The upcoming generation may feel differently but they'll be missing out.
It'll all happen. It's happening faster than I expected. Actually when I started this process I expected nothing because nothing all that much was happening. And that changed in 18 months.
So finish that book you're working on and get it out for the Christmas season because I know it will be bigger than last year.