Despite concerns about consolidation among publishing houses, sales of the top 10 companies accounted for 55% of revenue of the 50 publishers that are on the list for both 2012 and 2011, down from 57% in 2011.
Cries of literary “monoculture” have been greatly exaggerated.
I called this post, “An end” as opposed to “the end.” As always, we’ll reinvent. We still need ideas, and ideas need containers. We’ve developed more and more ways for those ideas to travel and to have impact, and now it’s up to us to figure out how to build an ecosystem around them.
Books are going to survive, but they might not be what we have come to expect books to be.
The fate of these forgotten writers is a sad reminder that this will also happen to many serious works of philosophy, history, fiction, poetry, and all the other books collecting dust on their shelves. As long as they were there, some browser with plenty of time on her hands would have a chance to find a phrase, a bit of description or some little story in one of them, that enriches her life and does her soul good.
Those that mourn the loss of used book stores forget that with digital, nothing need go “out of print.”
I feel a unique sense of anxiety about ebooks. There are admittedly more books on my shelves that I’ve never read than those that I have (I have this tendency to give away books once I’ve read them, and never see them again). But I never stare at my shelves and feel the weight of those unturned pages. Owning the books carries its own sort of personal satisfaction. They decorate space, and are such patient waiters.
I wonder if books as decoration has enough cultural meaning behind it to keep print books around as domestic objects long into the future.
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