Critical Linking: May 11, 2012

So I really can leave my account to someone, along with the keys, and holler out as I head for the hereafter, “Drive, she’s all yours!” This was heartening, and quite compassionate of the great online dispenser of e-manna. But, not to be a pain about it, I went ahead and asked Amazon just exactly how this would work. Could I really give my account — my e-books — to someone before I die? And would the account last, well, for ever and ever?

Death, taxes, and your ebook collection.

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Literature has this precious weight that social networking will never have.

Oh, that all sixteen year-olds were like this one.

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But ultimately I think readers will benefit the most from the new era. The more books there are to choose from the more likely it will be that the perfect ones for you are out there.

And that’s why, in the end, reading is in good shape.

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So when digital evangelists prognosticate about the future of publishing, as they love to do, and about what “needs” to go away, serious nonfiction is now one of the first things I think about. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and want to read more of it and notice twentysomethings have little perceived patience for weighty tomes. Maybe it’s because I’d rather have pragmatic conversations about what categories are best suited to digital — genre fiction obviously, certain commercial strains of literary fiction, basically any book that needs to have a completed manuscript done before it’s shopped around, or can be finished very quickly post-proposal — and which ones won’t be.

Though, it’s not clear that every niche, genre, or category will make it through the digital revolution.

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