I’m continually amazed at the tone traditional media outlets take regarding the Internet. It is as though they are continually rocked by waves of surprise each time they lose to formats that are far more convenient for their customers. It reminds me of the Shel Silverstein poem in which the author is being eaten by a boa constrictor, the last line of which is delivered from inside a boa constrictor.
This time it’s Time reporting that E-Book sales have outstripped hardcover book sales on Amazon.com for the first… time.
As a person who has written an e-book and has plans for more, I think it’s pretty cool that they’re becoming more widespread. Nothing makes me happier than my delusions that I might someday be a highly-regarded author, except perhaps those in which I am a wealthy spaceman and philanderer.
In short, I think we’re living in a great time for people who like to write, because anyone on the internet has the capacity for global reach, or at least, as much of the globe that has internet access. Let’s not forget that that mostly includes developed nations. If you want to be widely read, all you have to do is be interesting and capture people’s attention — not that I know how to do either.
The only trouble with that is that important news is very often boring. It only really gets interesting when someone we can relate to gets deeply hurt or killed. Legislation, for instance, very often doesn’t have a face, and as such, is much less interesting even though it can potentially do much more harm.
Long story short, if you’re a news outlet and you want to stay in business, you’re going to have to pretty much overlook any news that can not be presented as a scandal, epidemic, or hologram. Any discussion that has more than two directly opposing points of view can’t be put on the air because it might be too complicated to digest. I wonder if that’s good.
E-books outselling hardcovers on Amazon is great news because to me it represents the ultimate democratization of the printed word. Or in other words, crackpots like myself no longer have to even try to get published. The flip side of this revolution, in my opinion, is that everything must be taken with a grain of salt. Everyone who is talking is attempting to dress things up in order to get noticed.
Sensation is the push-up bra to the breasts of news. Keep that in the back of your mind folks, that’s all I’m saying.
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