The subject is the future of the printed word. For the first time this month, Amazon sold more ebooks than it did printed ones. Two of us have one published book each; the third has four novels, published by three different houses. We ask ourselves if the traditional publishing road is dead? Should we give up and head to online publishing or on-demand, me with my four unpublished novels, my friends with three and two?
I read a great piece recently that said if publishers had kept track of their audience–exactly who liked what book–they would now have an enormous resource, a built-in way to aim each new book at the people who most want to read it.
The bigger question is: will people be reading books? In our house, the favorite time of day is sitting around the breakfast table, each with a section of the newspaper, idly discussing what we’re reading. How many younger people do this? Will we look back on these heaps of recycled newsprint with horror, as we punch up the day’s latest, filtered to fit our preferences, on our ipads, Nooks, and Kindles?