Sunday, February 6, 2011

What's this eBook thing, anyway?

This is almost painful to watch. The look on their faces as they speak about this weird, new thing called the "Internet"

Okay, so maybe the video has nothing to do with eBooks... but maybe, it really does.

I can't help but let my very expensive education from USC get in the way. I guess when I got an MBA, I learned to look at most things through the eyes of an entrepreneur. Most people in the industry are pretending, hoping that this eBook-thing and self-publishing-thing and indie-publishing-thing will go away. If we shove our head deep under the sand--real deep--it'll go away.

It won't go away. It's already too late. The question, the only question, that should be asked is what are YOU doing to ride this wave? How are you reconsidering the impact and possibilities and opportunities that this wave will bring.

In this blog, I write about writing.

But my "other" life is, and has been, about bringing new technologies to market. I've launched businesses, ran businesses, and helped others realize their entrepreneurial dreams. Today, I help develop the technology roadmap of the movie industry. And I see a dangerous disease everywhere I look.

There is a disease that's called denial. And unfortunately, in the book publishing industry, denial is the de facto standard. As writers, we can't be blind. This is our careers, the future, the platform upon which we are able to deliver our stories to others.

We can watch that 1994 TODAY SHOW video and laugh. "How ridiculous, and blind," we'll claim. "For the love of everything that we know of, the Internet is the backbone of everything we do."

In ten years, will we look back at the articles, and YouTube videos produced in 2011 about eBooks and laugh? Will we wonder how so many people missed the boat?


  1. It's amazing how much the Internet has changed everything in such a short period of time, isn't it? My undergrad was an MIS degree, but the Internet was still mainly a government and education tool for sharing files. It didn't go commercial until right around when I graduated. At first I didn't know what to do with it. And within a year or two, I didn't know how to live without it.

    The ebook shift is just as swift and dazzling and confusing. Self-publishing makes it easy for anyone to get their book out there, and those of us with e-readers are now flooded with options. But there's something to be said for editorial oversight. I love the e-book format, but not necessarily the ease of entry. In the end, quality is still important, whether it happens under a traditional publishing scheme or not.

    I'll be curious to see how consumers vote with their dollars as far as self-pubbed and indie work goes. I'm not against it, but not rushing to sign on either.

  2. I agree with you 100%. The key value that a large publisher brings is the editorial polish. Or as Seth Godin calls it, publishers as the curator of quality and taste. I do wonder: When will some of these great editors decide to go "free-agent"? and when they do, the concept of quality self-publishing or indie publishing, suddenly becomes a very interesting concept.

  3. Yep. I think that without the traditional publisher stamp of approval, the reading public will eventually demand some kind of "sign of quality". Not sure how that will play out, but for me, right now, I still look to see who the publisher is before I buy an ebook.

    I'm sure I'm missing some quality work since editors and agents sometimes miss the boat on good stuff, but I'm not often willing to risk my limited dollars on an untested product.


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