Alex Knapp at Forbes.com asks, "Are Apps the Future of Book Publishing?"
I think he begins by assuming the affirmative, and proceeds by asking which type of app.
I work in the paper-bound book publishing industry. I don't have a e-reader or tablet device.* I'm actually shopping for a bigger bookcase.
[*partly because my kids would never let me use it]
Knapp points out that something I've been wondering about since Myst is coming to fruition - a book type narrative that readers generate interactively. FWIW, I think that's a different type of literature from the dominant sale-scaled fiction narrative today, the novel.
(I know, Knapp didn't ask if enhanced ebooks would replace novels, but that seems to be the real, underlying question. Who really thinks that college students in 2020 will have 40-pound textbooks that are out of date when printed?)
Yes, this makes me worry about, first, the future of literacy (will we all require enhancements as well as phonics instruction?), second, my publishing job, and third, what I will do with my new, big bookcase in seven years.
It does not make me worry about the publishing industry. Boo-hoo. The fat cats have to adjust. Don't worry, they're already figuring out how to get authors and customers to foot the entire bill.
Maybe I should assemble a group of really creative people to publish enhanced content. We'll have to come up with a new genre, since "novel" is taken, "enhanced novel" sounds creepy, and "e-book" sounds so pre-millennial.
- Steve Shea
- A 40-ish publisher (editor, project manager, etc.), husband, and father of an even number of offspring, I grew up, or failed to, reading fantasy and sci-fi. I still enjoy reading, and now am trying to write. My favorite books include YA fantasy, manga, biography, and advice to authors. I'm also a former history major/grad student/high school teacher and assessment writer. Now I work for a school supplement publisher, specializing in high-low chapter books. I spend a lot of my time controlling reading levels. At night, I cut loose and use long words. W00t!