Friday, July 10, 2009

The Future of Publishing is Really the Future of Reading

Cover of "Brave New World"Cover of Brave New World

By Anthony S. Policastro

I recently came across a very interesting article by Clive Thompson in Wired Magazine about the future of reading.

Here are some of the points that struck me as highly significant:
  • People should start thinking about the future of reading rather than being always preoccupied with the future of publishing.
  • Every other media that has gone digital has been transformed by its audience with the ability to comment on the content.
  • Books need to be set free digitally to improve book discovery. It may also spawn a class of "professional readers" whose commentary is so informative that you would pay to download their take on a particular book.
  • Programmers are already working on XML-like markup languages that would link every chapter or significant passage of a book to a unique URL address. Then you can easily examine the contents of a book with a few clicks.
  • A few authors have given away digital copies of their books and found they end up selling more print copies. (I'm one of the those - both of my novels are free as digital downloads.)
It's a brave new world out there for books, but the publishing industry is moving like a snail to embrace these new technologies. But that's Ok because others will do it before them and reap the benefits along with us readers.

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