It’s an uncertain descent into darkness when you start thinking about heady questions like the future of books. In my short story, Digitally Remastered Classics, I try to ask a lot of those questions.
Asking about the future of books risks ignoring the present
I think that things in the book market are changing slower than we think, but authors are a paranoid bunch. We’re watching in horror as marketing campaigns convince us that everyone is self-publishing, no one is reading, and various online giants are in a war trying to destroy any kind of profitable authorship.
It’s important to recognize that one out of five Americans “read” a digital book last year, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t read any other print books. Unless they were part of… uh… the 19% of respondents who said they hadn’t read any books over the past year. Which happens to be the highest number of respondents who hadn’t bothered with a book since polling began in 1978.
As always, I go back and forth with being more hopeful than ever about what authors can finally accomplish with so many new tools and so many broken barriers before stumbling into a rut of speculative despair when reading something like the fact that Amazon just took out a patent for “used” eBooks.
I tried to show this authorial dichotomy in Digitally Remastered Classics. Take a look at an excerpt, if you’re curious!