Thursday, September 1, 2011

Potentially Bad News?

I read the Annoyed Librarian (AL) blog on occasion. Usually she (I think it's a she, as the AL is anonymous) has some wry quip about how the library profession is self-destructing, and librarians are too worried about staying relevant to notice. I usually enjoy these diatribes, but today's post left me a bit depressed, probably because it had "death" in the title. It's called "Death of the Author" and can be accessed here.

The post references this article from the Guardian which argues that although books aren't going away, the digital revolution will make "The Writer" obsolete as a profession. The AL argues, "Who cares?" My feeling is, a lot of people might, especially aspiring writers who dream of making a living at what they love.

AL also points out that not all published books are of good quality, especially when it comes to ebooks. I'd tend to agree. As was mentioned in my previous post, I am of the opinion that publishing houses are more concerned with profitability than quality. But this overall trend implies that publishing houses may have more to worry about than aspiring writers do.

The author of the Guardian article tends to blame Generation Y, the "Millenials," who prefer digital over paper. He uses statistics from Barnes and Noble to back up his claim. While this might be a bit daunting, I don't think it should stop aspiring authors from putting themselves out there.

Of course, we all know that digitial is much cheaper than paper (and sometimes can be distributed for free). I'm hearing more and more about authors, fed up with the process of trying to make money in a tough market, choosing to create author pages on Amazon and digitizing their books there (at no extra cost to them). They probably won't make a profit, but at least their work is out for others to see.

I've been told that if someone is just writing in the hopes of a big dividend, that they shouldn't be writing at all. Maybe this digitized trend may separate those who write for writing's sake, and those who write because they want to be rich and famous. And perhaps that's a good thing.

-The Writer Librarian


1 comment:

Marvin said...

I agree with you. I would care, and quite a lot, if writers were no more. Where would we be without the written word, particularly the relevant written word. This goes to say nothing about historical accounts. I do agree that a lot of what is on the bookshelves is pure garbage being crammed down our throats like so many pork rinds. Maybe we are experiencing the dawn of the truly well-written day.