Despite what you may have heard, more books are written — and read — these days than ever before
THIS PIECE debunks the theory that the writing and reading of books are on the decline:
We’ve written more than a few times about Scott Turow [above], a brilliant author, but an absolute disaster as the Luddite-driven head of the Authors’ Guild. During his tenure, he’s done a disservice to authors around the globe by basically attacking everything new and modern — despite any opportunities it might provide — and talked up the importance of going back to physical books and bookstores. He’s an often uninformed champion of a past that never really existed and which has no place in modern society. He once claimed that Shakespeare wouldn’t have been successful under today’s copyright law because of piracy, ignoring the fact that copyright law didn’t even exist in the age of Shakespeare. His anti-ebook rants are just kind of wacky.
However, in his latest NY Times op-ed, he’s basically thrown all of his cluelessness together in a rambling mishmash of “and another thing,” combined with his desire to get those nutty technology kids off his lawn. For the few thousand members of the Authors Guild, it’s time you found someone who was actually a visionary to lead, rather than a technology-hating reactionary pining for a mythical time in the past.
Turow, apparently, ignores the fact that these modern technological wonders (which he hates so much) have enabled an entire new world of massively successful self-published authors, who take advantage of this situation to realize that they don’t need publishers, and the lower costs and ease of distribution makes things much easier. As Clay Shirky has said in the past, publishing is a button, not an industry. And, no, that doesn’t mean that authors should all do it by themselves, but the challenges are in marketing, not in “publishing” or distribution any more (with respect to ebooks).
Also the idea of a literary culture at risk is laughable. More books are being published today than ever before. More people are reading books today than ever before. More people are writing books than ever before. Books that would never have been published in the past are regularly published today. There is an astounding wealth of cultural diversity in the literary world. Sure, some of it means a lot more competition for the small group of authors (only about 8,000 or so) that Turow represents… oh wait, I think we’ve perhaps touched on the reason that Turow is all upset by this. But, of course, more competition for that small group of authors does not mean the culture of books and literature is at risk at all. Quite the opposite.
There’s more about this matter HERE.