Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Chronicle Brings Me Back

This Chronicle of Higher Ed article by Edward Tenner, linked through Shelf Awareness, on digitial publishing gets it pretty much all right. Thanks, Ed!

For example:
If a well-known publishing house takes the risk on a book, even a despised so-called midlist title, readers are at least subliminally aware that an investment of tens of thousands of dollars is at stake, that the author's writing is worth a gamble. While some industry pundits have proclaimed print-on-demand to be the future of publishing, there will always be a positional advantage to the conventional book. It says somebody thought enough of this writing to run off a whole batch. What's more, there are many design features that on-demand printing can't equal.
I agree heartily. I also found this point well made:
As a researcher, I'm delighted that there's so much free, or usually advertising-supported, content. But as a writer, I'm concerned that outlets are declining as aspirations are rising. Writing programs seem to specialize in the one genre, the short story, that has suffered most from the decline of general-interest magazines. Few bloggers have made a living from their writing, and many of them seem to have begun with experience or connections in print publishing.

So the whole article is well worth a read. It may require a subscription soon -- so go now!

He mentions newspapers, which got theirs in a great piece by Eric Klinenberg in the current Mother Jones. Again, an eye-opening if not worrisome bit of writing, which is pretty standard for the always interesting magazine. The purposely provocative cover headline is: Who's Killing Newspapers? (It's not the Internet).

I'll try to post more, for anyone keeping score out there.

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