Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I'd bet on Amazon...

I'd bet on Amazon...  Hachette (an old-school publishing company) is in a pitched battle with Amazon for the hearts and minds of book authors.  Steve Cohen presents the case for authors to take Amazon's side in this fight, basically because book readership is in decline and Amazon is (much) more likely to foster the innovations needed to save the book concept.  I think he's gotten right to the heart of the matter.

Personally, I'm not sure that books (in the traditional sense of hundreds of pages of fixed text and images) have much chance of surviving the technological and cultural changes to the way we consume information (non-fiction) and entertainment (fiction).  I'm not even going to try to predict where things are going to go.  I can readily observe, though, how my own habits have changed.  I'm much less likely these days to buy a non-fiction book (though I still do buy quite a few) – there's so much fresh, high quality, curated information available on the web that many of my non-fiction needs and desires are satisfied with a few clicks, for free.  I haven't found any equivalent for book-length fiction, but ... there's so much other stuff that I read on the web that my daily reading time has been reduced.  I still buy a lot of fiction books, but probably less than half what I did just 10 years ago.  That doesn't mean I'm reading less, though – I think I'm actually reading more, in total.  It's just that a lot of it is on the web these days.

I'll also note that without any exceptions known to me, the people I know who are younger than about 40 years old read vastly fewer books than I do.

But if any organization had a chance to save the notion of books, it would be be Amazon – an organization with a proven record of innovation and disruption, and the biggest bookseller in the world.  Hachette is the equivalent of the buggy manufacturer's association back in the early 1900s...

No comments:

Post a Comment