What’s coming down the pipe…

I wrote some time ago that I didn’t think many advocates of ebooks and ereaders fully appreciated what the future may hold.  Well I might have been wrong.  People are thinking about it and I worry.

Authors demand drive to raise readers’ awareness of book piracy’s cost

There is a very clear difference between musicians and authors.  Where musicians are themselves the product and have a built-in revenue stream authors don’t and aren’t.  Except for a tiny minority.  Authors do not make money through performance (I wonder if that might change…) so the maths, as they are now, are clear.  Don’t pay… don’t get professional* authors.      It’s been pointed out to me by others that ebooks represent an opportunity.  Authors will be able to interact directly with their readers and perhaps provide evolving content.  Readers will be able to interact with each other.  The key word is interact.

There’s a built-in problem with that notion.  As a reader I do not want to interact with other readers while I am in the act of reading. That’s not what reading is about.  And surely one of the things we as authors do is provide a story.  An idiom I’ve heard is that poetry is always unfinished.  Poets do revise their work but this seems less common for authors.  After all, if you’ve spent a year working on a book do you really want to go back and revise it… again?  I am not even convinced that it’s desirable.  Many reworking of songs or films are just dire.  It occurs to me that these interactive stories are not books and have been around for years.  They’re called computer games.

* Amateurism is bad.

2 Comments on “What’s coming down the pipe…”

  1. Deb Wain says:

    Interactive with authors?! I’m going to quote Arthur Koestler here: “To want to meet an author because you like his books is as ridiculous as wanting to meet the goose because you like pate de foie gras.” I think ‘interact with’ can replace ‘meet’ and this would still apply! 🙂

  2. antihippy says:

    Heh. Good point. I’ve met some authors who are a pleasure to speak to but a few I’d rather not. Really my beef is any interaction. If people think it’s appropriate to interact through books then that can be done in reading groups or down the pub. Strkes me that that is an appropriate way. It’s also been suggested to me that readers could leave their own footnotes online… I suspect that anyone who thinks that’s a good idea has never used the internet. A further source of interaction is with advertisers… I can’t believe that anyone would think that is a good idea.
    All of these ideas suggest something quite different to a book. If people aren’t reading (something that I am increasingly hearing isn’t true) then making the books interactive will not make them any more popular.

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