Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Abadzis Ponders Publishing's Future

Nick Abadzis of Tor.com imagines what the future of publishing might look like. Excerpt:
Print is dead. How can we make money from the Internet? [Everyone runs off screaming.]

Since, ooh, the early 2000s I've sat in various editorial meeting rooms of assorted major U.S. and European publishers and heard some iteration or variation of those statements. In 2010, publishing was characterized by inertia and fear. Budgets and lists were slashed while jobs were lost as the industry struggled to make it through lean times foisted on the rest of us by avaricious types over in Bankerland. Publishers sat around waiting for something to happen, for something to give, for the new thing to announce itself and drag all those scared, bored editorial bottoms on an inexorable slide into a well-moneyed future where people can make money out of the web.

Well, World-of-Publishing, it ain't gonna happen! Not the way you think, anyway. There's been too much evaluation and not enough imagination. Here are some predictions that may get a laugh in decades to come.
Read the whole thing. The financial and real estate debacles of the past few years, as well as the inexplicable popularity of Justin Bieber and Snooki, should prove that precious few prophets walk among us. "Futurist" seems to be a profession largely reserved for fools or those with tongues firmly in cheek. Abadzis definitely falls in this latter category. (An iMe "that sheathes the human body in a field of imagery and infotext" so that "nobody actually talks anymore"? Come on, really?) But there's wisdom in his humorous projections. Given that the popularity of tablet computers seems to have intersected with an increasing dearth of leisure time, I could see a market developing for an electronic magazine "designed to take the average length of a subway ride to read." Rather than replacing physical novels, it would revive other forms, revitalizing short and serialized stories. I say such a renaissance can't come quickly enough.

(Picture: CC 2011 by
marc dalio)


C. N. Nevets said...

Viva la short stories!

Loren Eaton said...

Amen and amen. Let us have more of them, I say.