Friday, May 01, 2009

Another Look at Where We Are

It's nice to hear that a panel on the internet and the future of the book industry at the L.A. Times Festival of Books attracted a "standing room only audience." I'm not sure what to take from the rest of this Publishers Weekly report.

Sara Nelson also made strong points, noting that "We need more midlist novels and less of the celebrity books that challenge the bottomline of publishing conglomerates." Here, here! Richard Nash sounded like the voice of reason, as ever: "“Writing and reading are doing just fine. It’s the intermediaries that are failing." When Nelson suggested the need for "gatekeepers" to help people navigate "the morass of choices," Nash said he preferred the term "concierges." (This is where one might want to be careful to avoid calls of elitism.) I'm not sure who makes the best and most effective gatekeeper in this new age, as more selling happens online in non-traditional places. I'm not convinced bloggers will do it, but perhaps they will as they can deliver messages on a mass market level in a way that reads as incredibly personal.

Also participating in the panel were Otis Chandler, founder of the Goodreads Web site, and Patrick Brown, Vroman’s Books’ webmaster and blogger.

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