July 6, 2010 Michael Bickerton
There are lots that can be said about books, apparently, we love our books, but they are expensive to produce, the information is frozen in time, stuck on a page, put on a shelf, hell, they even keep them in a place called a library (remember those). Books are thrown out and recycled (we hope), and an amazing stat for me is that 40% of books printed are never sold.
Not only are books expensive, they kill trees, they use up many natural resources yet in-spite of all the effort, books aren’t read enough. Some very worrisome stats by Bookstatistics.com, 80% of US families do not buy or read a book in a year. 70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in five years. 58% of US adults don’t read a book after high school.
When I was a child, we didn’t have a library close by, we actually had mobile libraries that brought a limited number of books to our neighbourhoods. Who said Scarborough ON wasn’t upscale in the 60’s … Imagine a world if you would where you would have your mail brought to your door and a traveling library, yes these were good times. Sounds like today, everything is at our fingertips.
What’s wrong with books I ask? Simple really, they can’t be updated, they are locked in time, by the time they are printed they are out of date. They aren’t searchable, they don’t have links, no video, no music … frankly, they are boring. Books don’t link to related knowledge, authors or other works. When you scan our blogs you will notice that there are links everywhere, these links assist you in finding additional information, other resources, providing you a solid information experience.
The new book, the ebook, has left us a few questions, are authors going to get paid, and if so, how? Who is going to spend hours, days, weeks, months and years writing for the free internet? The Huffington Post people have a model that seems to be prospering in the publishing arena. You can be sure the ‘publishing’ business (not the book publishing business) will survive and thrive in the new economy, just as the ‘news’ business will continue to grow (formerly the newspaper business).
In the years ahead (not today, but soon), the printed word, if delivered on paper will go the way of the dodo bird. Information will grow at an ever increasing rate. Publishing will survive, as will the news business. The days of having these medias on paper are over.
Michael Bickerton, Raven5 Ltd, July 2010