Monday, April 18, 2011

Will Technology De-value Our Books?

As I was thumbing through my usual blog quest and twitter scan today, dystopian visions of a Brave New World sort began to cloud my writerly fantasies of what the future will hold not only for me and my books, but for books in general.  Several cyber acquaintances are exploring the ramifications of the electronic world of publishing.  I'm not pronouncing the end of literary days or anything, but I do wonder.  No matter what lay ahead in technology, story telling and books will endure, but will they hold the same value? Or will it simply become our dose of soma, minus the euphoria?  Something to maintain the status quo, fill a void but only with white noise?

Nathan Bransford's post looks at the economic philosophies that drive market evolution and applies them to the publishing world, namely to the bargain ebook phenomenon.  While his post is hopeful, it does leave me wondering if books will be as valuable to our grandchildren as they are to us.  I won't rehash the whole doomsday prediction of the end of paper books, but as technology takes us in a new direction, will books become no more than a disposable blip on the kindle/ipad/computer screen?  I tend to agree with Nathan that quality will always find its way out and the everyman march to mediocre is a myth. (I pray!)

I admit—I'm a book junky.  I hoard them, spend money I don't have on them, stockpile more than I can possibly read, and lie there and inhale the sent of paper and ink and glue as if it were crack.  I pet their tattered bindings and talk to them when we're alone.  Kind of pathetic, I know.  But to me, books are not only my drug, they are my religion, my family, my consolation.

Okay, so ebooks are going to take over the world and relegate print matter to back room "read-easies" or the Antiques Road Show or the antiquities section of the Smithsonian along with the mummies and the salvaged remains of the Titannic.  Let's say that ebooks do balance the market out and maintain the integrity of good reading.  What happens to those oh-so-precious-and-valuable signed editions?

Someone has thought of that.  Autography will allow an author to sign her ebook for a fan and digitize that personal touch for posterity. (Pardon the ironic smile)  So...what will a signed electronic edition of J.K. Rowling's next book be worth in 50 years?  Will electronic signatures be pirated and distributed en masse with a single click?  What would an e-signature be worth, then?  How is it authenticated?  Or does that point simply become moot because that sense of iconic wonder, of religious fervor, of hero-worshipping awe has simply faded away into the everyday blip of silicon-induced complacency?

I wonder...

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Gold Star to Nathan Bransford

Just a short post.  If you are a writer and you don't follow Nathan Bransford, you should.  Today he posted a particularly salient piece, given a few recent meltdowns in cyberspace, that reminds us that the artistic temperament and the speed-of-light conduit of information that is the internet often do not mix well.

Miscellaneous Madness

Butler made it to the finals and almost took the championship, tragedies both small and large changed my path more than once, and writing goals took on new meaning over those 31 raging spring days.
Thank you to the March Madness crew and all those who participated for keeping me motivated and inspired.  I didn't quite reach my goal, but I gained momentum that will surely kick some April butt.

The biggest event of the month continues to haunt us as Japan struggles with the devastation and potential radiation contamination wrought by the earthquake and tsunami on March 11th.  I continue to get news from friends and acquaintances as I pray for healing and grace for everyone effected by this event.  If you wish to help, Charity Watchdog has compiled a list and some general information about organizations committed to helping Japan.

As for a small tragedy, my dear daughter unexpectedly lost her bunny last week.  Can you remember that first pet that was really yours, that you gave your whole heart to and spoiled with affection every day?  This was hers.  Aptly named "Angel," that little rabbit loved the attention and gave Ghost Daughter so much in return.  The most heart-wrenching part of it all is that Angel died basically in our girl's lap.  She was moving and content one minute and the next, dead.  Our poor girl brought this lifeless body to her daddy and asked, "Is she dead?"  After mourning and keening for a day, and a lovely funeral, Angel was laid to rest.  A heart attack is the most likely culprit.  The first weekend of April brought a 4-hour drive North to a breeder where we adopted Angel Jr. and started a new journey, Ghost Daughter, me, and the bunny.

And the writing goals?  Well I added more than 10k to my WIP, had a few plot/character epiphanies, and kicked up the pace, so the madness led to at least a more focused method.  It's odd, though, how life can show me such unexpected moments of despair and supreme grace that not only give me perspective on reality, but inspire me to want to capture it in a place where we so often go to escape—writing.  The more real it is, the deeper the catharsis.

Perhaps that is just too much philosophizing for a Tuesday...

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Project 365

March flew by far too fast, but I will take some time to reflect and blog about the madness in a bit. (A good kind of crazy!) But today marks the 18th anniversary of the day Ghost Hunk and I said our vows and promised to love each other forever. A woman asked me how we managed 18 years. The simple answer is, make love an action and keep doing it every day.

To celebrate, and because blogger pal Just Mom inspired me, I'm going to take a photo a day for the next 365 days and post it on my photo blog. Why not here? I want to keep this place tidy for my writing ranting and reflection. But perhaps I just build another Blogger site for the project.  We'll see.

In the meantime, off I go to year #19!