I wonder how many readers out there are like me and don’t have much interest in a color/touch screen Kindle. The books I read are pretty much black and white, and those with color elements that I do purchase (e.g. art books) are of the type that are fairly pointless to buy as ebooks. As to the touch screen, I don’t see a whole lot of use for it beyond being able to swish your fingers over the screen and attempt to believe that you’re recreating the mechanical experience of turning the pages of a book.
At any rate, I’m one of those people who likes the idea of a dedicated ereader. Multitasking is overrated, and just because we can build a device that can play music and display books and wash your car all at once doesn’t mean we should.
Obviously this is a much different conversation if we’re talking magazines, in which case the iPad is clearly superior. But were not talking about magazines, and in any case the iPad price seems to be prohibitive if you are thinking of it as a magazine-reading platform. ($500 could buy me a whole lot of magazine subscriptions (I think that would keep me in Harper’s magazines more or less through the rest of my natural life), and I can already read those on my laptop, or even print them out or wait for the post office pony to bring me the print edition.)
Many of us have said this here before, but it bears repeating. ANY writer in publishing today ignores the romance market at their own peril. Industry insiders openly admitted that romance kept the book business afloat during the bleakest times of the recession, and continues to.
Kerouac was talented and sensitive and vulnerable and he ultimately killed himself with booze. Frustrated, he drank because he was misunderstood. His publishers and the media and the critics sold him as America’s “bad boy.” They didn’t look at his writing, didn’t acknowledge the value of his fresh, new style, didn’t hear the questions he posed about the meaning of life. He was cast as the harbinger of restless meanderings and delivered to a hungry, eager youth ready for action, encouraged to use On the Road as their map into naughty new places where sex, drugs and jazz defined the essence of cool.
But the harsh truth is: it doesn’t matter whether publishers engage or not. Those publishers who don’t engage will be cut out of the loop as the world rolls on regardless. It doesn’t even matter whether they decide to pay fair royalties or not. Ultimately, it’s not their decision any more. The economics of the new publishing are open to all. Publishers no longer have the monopoly. Anyone can play. And if someone chooses to take their ball away and play a different game with someone else, what, exactly, are you going to do about it?
The real trouble with Amazon, it seems, is that nobody truly believes we were better off without it.
Approximately 5 minutes after this was announced the entire book world went a little bit apeshit.