My morsel for this week? A bold prediction.
Here we are, three months after the big iPad launch, and I'd just like to put my cards on the table about ebooks and book-books and the future of the biz.
Here are my cards:
I bet real-life books aren't going anywhere.
That's right. I said that real paper books are here to stay, that ebooks, while certainly part of the industry, will never be the industry.
I know this cuts against the normal aura of unpredictability offered up at most publishing-related blogs. The usual spiel goes something like this:
"The iPad and the like will revolutionize publishing, and after so many years, who knows if paper books will even exist anymore?"
I know. They will.
How can I make such a bold declaration? What makes me think I know?
I have many reasons, but they really boil down to one. And that reason is this:
Real books aren't computers.
All the real book really needs to insure its continued existence is that it not start acting like a computer anytime soon. Many people who prefer real books (by some estimates 97% of the book-buying population) don't want to look at a computer for another stretch of time in their day. I look at a computer for (at least) eight hours a day, and one of the reasons I love reading books is that I'm not looking at something with a distinct computer-y essence.
In other words, digital will always be digital, with all the upside and downside that entails.
Think of bowling.
We can play bowling games on the computer, even to the point where one mimics the physical language of bowling in one's living room. But all of that can't replace getting into your car, driving to the bowling alley, renting some shoes, picking out a ball and giving it a go. It's a different experience--some might say better, but definitely different--with its own advantages and disadvantages.
As long as digital is digital (and I don't think there's any threat of digital not being digital any time soon), real books will always have a place in this world.
I will be taking next week off this blog, but get ready for a semi-big announcement (at least for me) in the early part of July.
Enjoy your summer. Second half of 2010, coming up.
Yours in laying down the law,
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