the future of the book is ….

The future of the book, the printed book, is up in the air. People stand to make a lot of money if they can convince you that their version of the future of print and reading is correct. Many of us would just like to separate the wheat from the chaff and keep delivering good content to various sorts of readers, from now until forever. The Green Mountain Library Consortium released their statement about Harper Collins this week which, while not as strong as I personally would have liked, I think sends a “hey man, not cool” message and at least sends a “hey we’re paying attention” message which I think is the important part. In the meantime, there are a lot of people who have a fairly good understanding of the general ebook situation who are deciding to poke a bit of fun at the crazy world we’re currently inhabiting. John Scalzi has made an electronic publishing bingo card which, while amusing in and of itself, has a weath of great discussion in the comments.

I’ll note that I spent a good chunk of time over this past week going over my page proofs [again] and yet I have no idea at all what the ebook for my book will look like or even what format(s) it will be available in. I can’t wait for this in-between time to be over with.

3 Responses to “the future of the book is ….”

  1. John Says:

    Yeah I’m playing the long-game on e-books. No major predictions at this time.

  2. walt crawford Says:

    “In-between time”? That presupposes that there is one and only one future of books. I see no reason to make that supposition.

  3. jessamyn Says:

    > That presupposes that there is one and only one future of books.

    The way I see it, right now it seems to be acceptable in libraries and industry to treat ebooks as “not real books” Accordingly, my book contract only sort of explained my rights with regards to ebooks and still used weird terms like “in print” which aren’t relevant to digital books. I think there will be a future where we expect to deal with books in a variety of formats that are all considered real and have to be dealt with as if they are real, by writers, publishers, content providers of all stripes and by libraries. Right now we’re in this weird purgatory where different stakeholders are trying to set the terms of the debate [what formats, what the rules are, what you pay for and what you get] and I think that sort of thing will standardize over time and it definitely hasn’t yet.

    I’m not presupposing any one future, just that in future years this will seem less like a frontier and more like established territory.