At BookExpo, Writers & Publishers Face Digital Upheaval
“When Mark Z. Danielewski’s second novel, ‘Only Revolutions,’ is published in September, it will include hundreds of margin notes listing moments in history suggested online by fans of his work. Yochai Benkler, a Yale University law professor and author of the new book ‘The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom,’ has gone even farther: his entire book is available — free — as a download from his Web site.
“Not surprisingly, writers have greeted these measures with a mixture of enthusiasm and dread. The dread was perhaps most eloquently crystallized last month in Washington at BookExpo, the publishing industry’s annual convention, when the novelist John Updike forcefully decried a digital future composed of free downloads of books and the mixing and matching of ‘snippets’ of text, calling it a ‘grisly scenario.’
“Hovering above the discussion of all these technologies is the fear that the publishing industry could be subject to the same upheaval that has plagued the music industry, where digitalization has started to displace the traditional artistic and economic model of the record album with 99-cent song downloads and personalized playlists.”
Motoko Rich. Digital Publishing Is Scrambling the Industry’s Rules. The New York Times. June 5, 2006.
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