Monday, September 15, 2008

New York Magazine and the sad state of books

New York Magazine has a terribly depressing article about the sad and frightening state of the book business. Books, apparently, are no longer considered "mass media." How sad is that? I wonder if the houses could simply stop paying multi-million dollar advances, and consider putting all books out in more affordable trade paperback.

I can't believe that novelists are the dinosaurs of the near future. I love to read far too much, and writing is my passion.


Jeff Lyons said...


There's something insidious about new media (Internet, IP-based)... and this coming from a guy who's heavily involved in web entertainment (no, not porn... yet). There's this mass rush to do something creative on the Internet and writers are podiobooking, podcasting, webisoding, and now the newest thing called "net-native narrative" where old books (like Moby Dick) are reinvented for the Internet and mobile phones in 2 or 3 line snippets mixed in with multi-media or interactive web apps (like maps or treasure hunts). The traditional novels are evaporating before our eyes and nobody seems to care. They won't disappear, but that they are no longer considered mass media is depressing. Technology is great, but the screwed up things we do with it aren't. Books are meant to be read! Not integrated with a joystick! They're meant to integrate with the granddady of lal joysticks... the brain and human imagination! God...I'm turning into a Luddite! But this is serious and I don't know what to do about it. Especailly since I'm trying to become a novelist.

Time to go surf porn sites.


Sorell Says... said...

I hear ya. I am stuck between two dying art forms apparently...novels and scripted television. Am I really to believe it's all podbooking and reality tv?

Commercials it seems are going to be the last bastion of acting...that a working actor can support themselves with. Of course there are always lots of ways to be creative...for free, which doesn't pay the rent. sigh.

Clea Simon said...

the rumors of the death of publishing are highly overrated. Check out GalleyCat's response, which quotes Michael cader's very funny and apt response:
(You'll probably have to cut and paste this, but it's worth it)

now go write!