Print is Dead

Taking a cue from Jeff’s blog, I wanted to scream out those words at a Recorded Books function I went to on Saturday.  I started out the day at Book Expo in NYC with a “breakfast” hosted by Steven Colbert, and featuring Lisa See, Ken Burns, and Khaled Hosseini.  Fun, even though everyone pitched their latest book as if the audience was totally comprised of retailers instead addressing the large group of librarians attending.  Wandering around the huge exhibit hall I saw lots of the symbiotic relationship between the big fat publishers and the big fat sellers like Amazon, but desperation in the eyes of the little guys.  No more shops around the corner.   During her cigarette break a map distributor told me how they were being eaten alive by the Internet and GPS devices.  I finished the day at a small party thrown by Recorded Books, and after some nice hors d’oeuvres they sat us in a freezing auditorium and filmed the speakers: Jane Smiley and Michael Dirda.  At least these guys had the good grace to acknowledge the audience of librarians, and each included a passing reference to audiobooks to be polite to their hosts, I suppose.  It was during Dirda’s presentation that I had the urge to misbehave.  He told us he was a “book guy” and didn’t feel too kindly towards blogs.  I guess he’s feeling the pinch of the Internet too, like my map distributor friend.    I wish I had the energy at the time to ask what he plans to do once newspapers die.  Maybe he needs to get on board with blogs for job security reasons, and realize that books as the medium of all things IMPORTANT is changing.

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Posted in people. 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Print is Dead”

  1. Mary Says:

    I have to say that Dirda is spot on about this. It’s more of a loss than one might initially think. There have been many other times throughout history where there were types of change instituted, and they weren’t in any way positive. There’s something inherently dangerous about limiting who gets to read what, and the ease new technology makes possible for those who seek to censor and subvert texts, for revisionisms sake, or what have you.

  2. Ellen Says:

    The loss of paper journalism is inevitable. It just makes more sense for timely news to be distributed electronically, someday on our little flexible ebook reader perhaps. Timely criticism and revisionism will follow. And the more people who have access to writing it, the less chance there is for censorship and hidden agendas. The Internet as it is makes it possible to seek out so many opinions that you inevitably reach your own.


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