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[personal profile] greygirlbeast
Caveat: No one is going to read this, and no one is going to comment. (This is an expectation, not a command).

Bright outside, and warm. I'd be on my way to Moonstone for a day of swimming, if the passing of Katia (the hurricane that's taking a Norwegian vacation) hadn't left the whole Eastern Seaboard with dangerous rip currents. So, instead, I will sit and work. Weekends are for...people who aren't writers. Just like vacations (I'm looking at you, Katia), retirement, and health insurance.

And I had dreams that are nagging at me, even though I can't remember them. And I have a headache I've had since last night. But other than that, hey man, as far as I know, the motherfucker's tiptop.

I don't get a lot of headaches, and they make me extra not right. Sorry.

Yesterday, I worked. Let's be safe and leave it at that. Oh, I will add that I needed Spooky to help me, and she displayed magnificent restraint and didn't kill me.

No matter how much time I spend on the internet (and it's a shameful LOT of time), I have a fairly low opinion of it. But every now and then someone has a good idea, and that good idea actually works. This is the case with Kickstarter, which has made crowdsourcing a practical option for many of us who often cannot find a traditional, conventional source for funding this or that project. The success of mine and Spooky's Tales of the Ravens/Goat Girl Press Kickstarter astounded me. I never thought it would work. But we not only met our goal, we received 212% of what we'd hoped for. And now, with mine and [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's The Drowning Girl: Stills From a Movie That Never Existed, as I write this we are in the Kickstarter's final hour, and its funded at 298%. So, not only will Spooky and I be producing this wonderful little book based on her raven paintings, but Kyle and I will be creating a set of photographs and a short film based on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. A couple of years ago, none of these things would have happened. So, thank you, Kickstarter, and thank you donors. We will not let you down (though we may be slow as fuck).

---

Last night, rather impulsively, we decided to drive over to the Providence Place Mall (we avoid this place like all bad things that are to be avoided), because there's a Borders there. I sort of felt an obligation to see the end of Borders firsthand. And...it was sort of horrifying and sad and, yet, peculiarly gratifying. Looking at what seemed like, in some parallax trick, to be miles upon miles of empty shelving, it became clearer than it has yet been that we stand at the end of an old age of publishing. I don't want to admit it, and I have no idea what the next age will look like, but there's no denying this is a transitional event. The horror and sadness, that came from seeing books that had, essentially, been reduced to worthless chunks of paper, devalued, stripped of their supposed, inherent merit, 70%-90% off. The peculiar gratification (and I know this is petty), that came from seeing the fall of one of the monoliths that took out so many small and extremely valuable bookstores over the last two decades. What goes around...

But there was, of course, this other thing. This other thing, that was fear. I am a writer, and here is my livelihood, in part, here in the store, and it's dying. No, it's dead, and we were just hanging with the last round of vultures (the lions, hyenas, and jackals left days ago), as the maggot-riddled carcass was picked clean. Oh, I know my career will survive, however the presentation of the art I create might eventually be altered, whatever form it might take. But I'm 47, and bookstores, that sell actual fucking books, that's what I've known all my life. I didn't grow up wanting to write data, ones and zeros, for Kindles or what-the-fuck-ever ugly hunks of plastic. I wanted to make books. And, no matter how much of my income eventually is derived from ebooks, I will, always hate that format, and always cling to the past, which is my present. The book: which is an object with covers and binding and pages, something tactile, something with a wonderful odor, born of ink. This will all likely be swept away in a few more decades or less, excepting small specialty publishers catering to the antiquarian tastes of people like me. But I'll keep writing, and people will keep reading.

And Borders had it coming, just as Barnes and Nobles has it coming. Just as Amazon has it coming. In time, they all fall, because everything does. Because greed is an absolute with a single inevitable outcome.

Anyway, eulogies and nostalgia aside, there really wasn't much left to buy, which made it easy to be good kids. Oh, there were veritable fucking mountains of celebrity bios, especially books about Sarah and Bristol Palin. It was satisfying seeing how many of those were left. There were sci-fi and fantasy paperbacks that had no business having been published in the first place, and tons of YA vampire dreck. "Literature" was gutted, as was "Science," except for theoretical mathematics. We must have been there about an hour (it was very hot, and the fluorescent lights were making me woozy), and we spent about $45, picking those bones, and came away with:

The Fallen Sky: An Intimate History of Shooting Stars (2009), Christopher Cokinos
The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must (1996, 2011) by Robert Zubrin
Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks (2011) by Juliet Eilperin
The Mystery of Lewis Carroll: Discovering the Whimsical, Thoughtful, and Sometimes Lonely Man Who Created Alice in Wonderland* (2010) by Jenny Woolf*
Katharine Hepburn: A Life in Pictures (2009) Edited by Pierre-Henri Verlhac**

...and one DVD, the only one left worth a cent, the two-disc special edition of Tony Scott's True Romance (1993).

---

I'm oddly homesick.

---

Later, I had some decent RP in Insilico. I read Joe R. Lansdale's "The Crawling Sky" from The Book of Cthulhu. Now, understand – Joe is brilliant, 99 times out of every 100. I once had dinner with him on the Thames, a Chinese restaurant on a huge boat, restaurant with some fucking absurd name like the Floating Lotus. Anyway, that's a story for another time. But "The Crawling Sky" is one of those rare cases where a funny Lovecraftian story works. First off, understand that this is like Cormac McCarthy writing a Lovecraft story, filmed by the Cohen Bros., starring Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn. Now, understand that, no matter how fucking funny the story may be, the "mythos" elements weren't being spoofed, but were taken pretty seriously. Anyway, yes. One of the anthology's gems. This line, I must quote: "He had the kind of features that could make you wince; one thing God could do was he could sure make ugly." Lansdale is, among other things, to be lauded for keeping the "weird western" alive.

Gods, what a fucking long blog entry! Gotta work!

* Winner of the Most Absurd Subtitle Award.
** A beautiful "coffee-table" book. How will Kindle fill that gap? How will we have beautiful coffee-table books on iPads? Maybe we'll stop having coffee tables. They seem a holdover from some more civilized age, anyway.

Date: 2011-09-10 06:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] coyotegoth.livejournal.com
It really is strange to be an era so tangible change. "There I was..." we'll be telling children someday, "Surrounded by actual, physical books! On paper!"

Date: 2011-09-10 06:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

You just made me hurt and shiver. But yes.

Date: 2011-09-11 06:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] coyotegoth.livejournal.com
I'm sorry.

Date: 2011-09-10 06:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lachendwolf.blogspot.com (from livejournal.com)
I am not sad for the demise of Borders, at all, because they were the type of place to not stock more interesting fare... like your books! The Borders at Columbus Circle never had anything but Silk, every time I went. That said, if Powell's and the Strand and Shakespeare's etc ever go under I will cry as though my dog died. Maybe harder. I'm still deeply shaken at the thought that St. Marks Bookshop might go under. It's been part of my entire life.

I imagine the coffee-table itself will become a tablet, with panels into which you can load your "coffee-table book" - with the ability to zoom into photographs of increasingly immense resolution. Something akin to the house walls in Fahrenheit 451. (At least no one will want to burn plastic... instead we'll get cloud-purges. *shudder*)

Date: 2011-09-10 07:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lilith-333.livejournal.com
ST. MARK'S BOOKSHOP MIGHT GO UNDER?!?! PLEASE tell me you're kidding! (I did not know about this.)

*Making mental note to go there and spend lots of money next time I get paid to try and keep them in business*

I DO NOT believe that paper books will ever disappear. Maybe this is just denial but I REFUSE to believe it. Despite the proliferation of digital media and experience, I think we as human beings have a basic need for physical reality. Facebook has not replaced actual physical meet-ups and in-person networking. Online teaching has not replaced physical classrooms. Email and texting have not replaced face-to-face and even phone conversations. I think we will see more and more digital versions of things but I don't believe they will ever completely dominate.

The experience of reading a physical book is different than the experience of reading text on a screen. There have been studies suggest that the two each involve different brain processes. Online books can't replace the mental experience of reading a physical book. Moreover, simply downloading and reading something on your Kindle trivializes what, to me, should be a profound experience and I think even casual readers know that on some level.

Besides, as long as I'm alive I probably can keep the publishing industry at least nominally afloat single-handedly; as I'm typing this I'm in my bedroom, literally surrounded by *stacks and piles* of books. It's quite seriously a toss-up as to whether, overall, I spend more of my budget on books or food! (I am not quite kidding with all of this. My partner and I are going to have to move soon, primarily so we have room for all my books.)

(Sorry - I know you said no comments in your caveat on this post but, as an English prof. and an avid reader, I think and talk about this all the time so I can't stop myself from chiming in with my 98 cents. It actually would be a good subject to bring up with my students next week in class.)

Date: 2011-09-10 07:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lachendwolf.blogspot.com (from livejournal.com)
To be precise about it: St Marks can't afford their rent, so it's up to Cooper Union to reduce or say "nuh uh; get out." Of course, St. Marks *might* have the wherewithal to move to another location, but after reading what Ellen Datlow had to say and then reading the petition about it I am pretty freaked out.

I don't think we'll ever see the end of a physical book, but I do believe that at some point in the future, we'll see the end of *paper* books.... at least, paper as we know it.

Date: 2011-09-10 08:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com
I DO NOT believe that paper books will ever disappear. Maybe this is just denial but I REFUSE to believe it. Despite the proliferation of digital media and experience, I think we as human beings have a basic need for physical reality. Facebook has not replaced actual physical meet-ups and in-person networking. Online teaching has not replaced physical classrooms. Email and texting have not replaced face-to-face and even phone conversations. I think we will see more and more digital versions of things but I don't believe they will ever completely dominate.

I'd say you are, in fact, in denial. Books will continue to exist, as artifacts, and, like I said, as expensive volumes produced by small presses for collector's. Now, this trend may be reversed once oil is gone and plastic becomes too expensive to produce.

Also, email, etc. has, essentially, killed actual letter writing. Of course, the telephone started the end of that lost art form.
Edited Date: 2011-09-10 08:03 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-09-10 09:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lilith-333.livejournal.com
Poot. *unhappy face*

I know, I've heard your argument before and it's a valid one. I'm a bleeding-heart rose-coloured-glasses humanist and to me books are sacred objects. I really WANT to believe that they have a widespread intrinsic value to people besides me.

However, there is a pragmatic argument for books vs. ereaders. Technology breaks. If you bust your Kindle, no more ebooks for you. A physical book, if treated properly, can have a longer lifespan than a human being (I own books that are over 200 years old and mass-market paperbacks from the 1930s and 1940s that are still in readable condition.) To an extent, damage to a book can be repaired; covers can be taped and pages re-glued. Few users can repair their own computers or ereaders.

I require all my students, when doing research, to consult a certain number of non-electronic sources. Why? Because if you rely on the internet or online databases for information, what will you do if your computer breaks or the internet goes down? Yet if you know how to use a library and find a book on your topic, you won't be in trouble. Same logic. Digital information and sources essentially lack the permanence of physical records, like books. If that asteroid you mentioned below ever does hit us (assuming there are any survivors) everyone's Kindles and laptops will be useless. There will be no movies or television. No Wikipedia to tell us how to hook up an electric generator? What's left? Books might even become the new currency of the post-apocalyptic society....*hmmm...story idea forming...*

(PS: You just finished "The Stand" - remember how in Boulder everyone became widely interested in the library for entertainment and practical information both?)

Date: 2011-09-10 09:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I really WANT to believe that they have a widespread intrinsic value to people besides me.

I feel the same way about the Steller's seacow, but look how that turned out.

However, there is a pragmatic argument for books vs. ereaders. Technology breaks. If you bust your Kindle, no more ebooks for you. A physical book, if treated properly, can have a longer lifespan than a human being (I own books that are over 200 years old and mass-market paperbacks from the 1930s and 1940s that are still in readable condition.) To an extent, damage to a book can be repaired; covers can be taped and pages re-glued. Few users can repair their own computers or ereaders.

This is a pragmatic argument. One which no one seems to be listening to. The world is too gadget obsessed. Americans throw away last years iPod for this year's model, and so forth. My books won't break. They aren't planned to become obsolescent. Kindle, etc. are. do and are, but no one seems to give a rat's ass.

emember how in Boulder everyone became widely interested in the library for entertainment and practical information both?

Actually...that's not in the 1978 version. I suspected KIng added that to the crappy 1990 text.

Date: 2011-09-10 10:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lilith-333.livejournal.com
I just read up on Steller's seacow and now I am sad.

I expect it will hit a point where people will HAVE to listen to the argument about technology failure. There's a good reason why many institutions - my school included - maintain paper records along with electronic databases. The more we digitize our lives, the more vulnerable so much of what makes up our lives become. In my more cynical moments, however, I think it may take an asteroid or EMP-style disaster for people as a whole to fully realize that.

From a Marxist perspective, there's a whole rationale behind the planned obsolescence of technology (that's probably a topic for another day, however). In brief: use mass media to convince people they NEED non-essential big-ticket items like ereaders, smartphones, and iPods. Then build these things so they break within a certain timeframe and/or release new versions that people are again convinced they *must* have. "Keeping up with the Joneses" in this manner will push the lower- and middle-classes into a cycle of constant consumption and debt, ensuring they can't leave their mind-numbing jobs and thus keeping them good brainwashed workers for the small fraction of those in power. Of course, those very mind-numbing jobs also create a desire for escapism and entertainment that can be fulfilled by - you guessed it! - those very same expensive non-essential devices.

One final thought - we're mostly talking from a very American-centred perspective here. There are areas of the world where the majority of people can't afford things like computers and ereaders, so a fair portion of education and information-gathering, as well as entertainment, comes from books, not the internet. Even if most Americans land up eliminating paper books from their life I am not sure that will become a world-wide thing.

I actually haven't read the whole of the 1978 version so the detail about the libraries in "The Stand" is probably a newer addition. I'm currently in the middle of re-reading "Misery," which I personally think is one of King's best books.

Date: 2011-09-11 12:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kore-on-lj.livejournal.com
Plus, it's nearly impossible to try to archive all this electronic stuff. Ever try to download and read someone's blog from the beginning? It's surprisingly hard to get it into non-backwards order (at least for me). Tweets, which are replacing Facebook statuses which replaced actual blog posts, just vanish into the aether - they can't be catalogued or searched. And most email is given over to that weird nonverbal communication style - not just LOLspeak, but people just back-and-forthing endlessly. Remember when letters used to be written in a kind of organic form? Haha yeah. And let's not forget about stuff like trying to get data off floppy disks, or even Zip disks or old hard drives. And Stephenson in In The Beginning Was the Command Line thought it was bad when you couldn't open a old document with an updated program.

Date: 2011-09-11 06:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kousmichoff.livejournal.com
Thank you for your thoughts on this.

Looking through my library, I find books that have been given to me by friends and family. In these, always, is a personal note to me. And these bring back times I've shared with them.

Years ago, I inherited my father's books. Many of them contain his boyhood scribbled ideas and doodles.

I can't imagine how things such as these could ever be replaced by iPads and ebooks.

Date: 2011-09-10 09:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lilith-333.livejournal.com
Gotcha. That's actually kind of another issue altogether; the crazy real estate prices in Manhattan. I've known a BUNCH of non-bookstore businesses that have had to close or, if they are lucky and have the overhead funds, relocate for that very reason. It's especially bad in SoHo, Tribeca, and the East and West Villages.

I personally trace blame back to Bloomberg's business-friendly city politics. It's getting so that the only places that can afford to stay open in the city are the rich corporations and chain stores. Did you know he is trying to ban independent vendors from places like Union Square? Of course, *in sarcastic voice* big business brings money into the city - AND his pockets - in a way that small independent business doesn't. This annoys me.

I won't rant about NYC politics anymore. It's just that I've lived here for nearing a decade - and was a reasonably frequent visitor for much longer - and I don't like what is happening to the city. Granted, it's nice to walk around alone after dark and not really worry about being mugged, but Times Square has become an amusement park and Union Square is turning into a strip mall. The city is losing its character piece by piece.

PS: Where could I find Ellen Datlow's comments and the petition?

Date: 2011-09-10 09:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lilith-333.livejournal.com
PPS: The above is a reply to lachendwolf's post about St. Mark's Bookshop.

Date: 2011-09-11 12:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lachendwolf.blogspot.com (from livejournal.com)
The place I first read of it was at http://twitter.com/#!/EllenDatlow/status/112022690436628480

which includes the petition here: http://signon.org/sign/save-the-st-marks-bookshop?source=s.tw&r_by=559617

and of course I cannot seem to replicate my crazed google searchings which got me to some commentary by Ellen... I'll keep looking.

Date: 2011-09-11 04:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lilith-333.livejournal.com
I signed the petition - thank you!

Date: 2011-09-10 07:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com


I imagine the coffee-table itself will become a tablet, with panels into which you can load your "coffee-table book" - with the ability to zoom into photographs of increasingly immense resolution. Something akin to the house walls in Fahrenheit 451.


Oh, fuck me....

Date: 2011-09-11 12:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lachendwolf.blogspot.com (from livejournal.com)
I know... I hope I'm wrong.

Date: 2011-09-10 06:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] corucia.livejournal.com

Joe is brilliant, 99 times out of every 100.

He's one of my top-five authors; his books are shelved on the downstairs bookshelf where everyone can see them. He's probably the most-represented author in my collection, based on numbers of books I own.

Re: ebooks - I've read some ebooks on an iPad, and I can see myself doing some of my reading there, but for anything I truly value I'm always going to want the physical book (preferably in hardcover).

Still, the devil's advocate in me whispers "I wonder if someone, upon seeing their first story written down on papyrus, argued that it would never be as good as hearing the actual bard telling the story. The words lie there flat and lifeless, mashed down and devoid of any feeling.". Devil's advocates are well-named.

Date: 2011-09-10 08:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com


Re: ebooks - I've read some ebooks on an iPad, and I can see myself doing some of my reading there,


I'd read comics on iPads, but not prose books. I think it is a practical way to convey comics, that could save that industry.

Still, the devil's advocate in me whispers "I wonder if someone, upon seeing their first story written down on papyrus, argued that it would never be as good as hearing the actual bard telling the story. The words lie there flat and lifeless, mashed down and devoid of any feeling.".

Moveable type was once hailed as the end of literature.

Date: 2011-09-10 08:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] corucia.livejournal.com
I'd read comics on iPads, but not prose books. I think it is a practical way to convey comics, that could save that industry. I've read PDFs of comics on an iPad, and found it better than I expected. Marvel and Archie comics released DVDs containing PDFs of comic series (the Complete Fantastic Four, 40 Years of Spider-Man, the Complete Star Trek comics, etc) a half-dozen years ago. They pulled them when they realized what they had done after digital readers began to show up - 500 comics for $30 had the potential to kill their nascent digital re-sale market.
From: [identity profile] oldfossil59.livejournal.com
It was nice to give the project that extra shove over 300%. I know it's going to be well worth the wait.

Re: Joe R. Lansdale. I've enjoyed his works for the past 4 decades. He's quite the "Texas Tall Tale" storyteller, in so many different ways.

Re: The demise of paper publishing. The treads in the comic industry are scary as well, I've been working for the store for 22 years and who knows what directions publishing is heading in the near future. I'm sure some of the true physical book lovers will keep things going as long as they can. But who knows how long?
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

Re: The demise of paper publishing. The treads in the comic industry are scary as well, I've been working for the store for 22 years and who knows what directions publishing is heading in the near future. I'm sure some of the true physical book lovers will keep things going as long as they can. But who knows how long?

It is all a terrifying mystery. But I see comics shops here, such as Newbury Comics, selling virtually no comics at the moment. CDs, DVDs, games, toys, T-shirts, etc. But few comics.

Date: 2011-09-10 08:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shanejayell.livejournal.com
I will be deeply sad if paper books go away. I'm old fashioned, but it just FEELS right to hold a paper book and flip the pages...

Date: 2011-09-10 08:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

but it just FEELS right to hold a paper book and flip the pages...

We will, at least, I hope, always have the libraries. And fuck you, Google Books.

Date: 2011-09-10 08:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] r-darkstorm.livejournal.com
I have to agree that there's just something inherently wrong about ebooks. They don't feel right in the hand. I grew up with paperbacks and hardcovers, they were my friends when I had no others. If they ever phase out completely... I may go on a rampage.

Date: 2011-09-10 08:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

I imagine underground networks of readers of actual analog books. I imagine enclaves, not so far from Fahrenheit 451.

Date: 2011-09-10 08:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] r-darkstorm.livejournal.com
There's a small part of me that thinks that'd be interesting to see... The rest of me really hopes I'm not alive for the abolishment of books.

Date: 2011-09-10 08:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greygirlbeast.livejournal.com

A small part of me would love to see the shape human civilization would be left in if earth were to collide with a major asteroid or comet.

After...a big part of me would love to see that. Never mind.

Date: 2011-09-10 09:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vulpine137.livejournal.com
Nope, read it. Don't have any good comments though.

Date: 2011-09-11 02:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vulpine137.livejournal.com
That came out wrong, I couldn't think of a good comment...what I get for reading Livejournal on a break from helping a friend do home remodeling.

apologies for the tl;dr

Date: 2011-09-10 11:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kore-on-lj.livejournal.com
But I'm 47, and bookstores, that sell actual fucking books, that's what I've known all my life. I didn't grow up wanting to write data, ones and zeros, for Kindles or what-the-fuck-ever ugly hunks of plastic. I wanted to make books. And, no matter how much of my income eventually is derived from ebooks, I will, always hate that format, and always cling to the past, which is my present. The book: which is an object with covers and binding and pages, something tactile, something with a wonderful odor, born of ink. This will all likely be swept away in a few more decades or less, excepting small specialty publishers catering to the antiquarian tastes of people like me. But I'll keep writing, and people will keep reading.


Thank. You.

I actually did give in and get an e-reader, the same way I gave in and got a cell phone, the same way I originally gave in and got a computer (a Mac Classic which I paid for myself with I think a $1500 student loan from the University of Iowa and it's still in a closet somewhere). But.....yeah, I hate it. I hate the way the fonts are all the same, I hate e-ink, I hate how illustrations are gone, I hate how even typesetting and how the margins are set and paragraphs are arranged on the page are all gone (that stuff fascinated me as a kid). I hate how cover illustrations will be going soon. I hate how the apparent MS Word versions are shoved through an OCR so you get shitty formatting and weird letter-numbers and spelling/punctuation errors. And yet....there's over 7600+ books in this apartment at the moment, there's just no room for any more, and actually we should move but can't face it because last time (when there were about 3000 fewer books to pack) was so horrifying. And I miss typewriters. And letters.

On the up side, we ALMOST lost Elliott Bay here in Seattle about a year ago, which would have broken my heart to itty pieces, but apparently a guy who owns a huge historical building right in my neighbourhood cut them a deal on the rent and they're doing pretty good business now. However, nearly every indie or small bookstore in town is in dire straits or already closed. (Said the owner of the first and for a long while only gay bookstore here, Beyond the Closet, "The internet killed my business." People could either order books he sold online, or just even download porn for free - why bother with a story in a book when there's pictures?)

I increasingly feel we're moving towards a post-verbal culture -- everything's going to be graphics and video "blogs" and video "reviews" and life will be essentially YouTube. I actually really hope I'm not around for that. And, as a lot of other people have already pointed out, that's just not sustainable, even if a meteor doesn't hit us.

Date: 2011-09-11 12:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] poesillchild.livejournal.com
Your comments about book stores/publishing and greed are correct. I watched the music industry fall for the same reasons only to adapt.

Joe Lansdale has his way with words. He is one of those writers that adds character to his readings, especially his "Godzilla's Twelve Step Program."

Date: 2011-09-11 12:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] corucia.livejournal.com

the fall of one of the monoliths

which reminds me that I need to re-watch 'The Monolith Monsters (1957)' again....

Date: 2011-09-11 12:57 am (UTC)
sirena73: (wanderer)
From: [personal profile] sirena73
A beautiful coffee table book on Kindle.
Now THAT makes my head hurt. Viva Taschen and their gorgeous coffee table books! Long live oversized art books!

Call me a Luddite, but I think Kindle is evil and dark-sided. I had an argument this weekend with someone in their 60's who thinks Kindles are the best thing since ever and that I, of all people, need one, because my personal library is into the thousands. I'm 38, and it felt weird arguing with someone older than me on this issue. I like books. I like their weight and their paper and their smell and everything. It's a whole experience. And I REALLY like bookstores and don't want them to go away.
*gingerly steps off soapbox and leads her thought-to-be-extinct-but-merely-shy dodo away*

Date: 2011-09-11 02:13 am (UTC)
ext_11632: (Default)
From: [identity profile] willow-kat.livejournal.com
I am a great lover of books, and have no interest in e-books. If proper books disappear in my lifetime, I will mourn them (and end up collecting the ones that do exist even more than I already do).

Date: 2011-09-13 07:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chiropteryx.livejournal.com
I know this is sort-of necrocommenting, but when I saw this article (and it made me smile right across my silly face), I couldn't help but hearken back to your despair on the downfall of books (which I share wholeheartedly).
http://community.thisiscentralstation.com/_Mysterious-paper-sculptures/blog/4991767/126249.html

Date: 2011-09-13 10:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] opalblack.livejournal.com
I read the whole thing, albeit late.

The thing about Borders is that they put almost every independent bookstore I ever loved out of business. Now it's gone. Giants always fall, and they fall big, and they fall hard, and eventually another will take its place, but now I think we will see more small book stores coming back.

Bookstores with personality, where the person who does the stock orders also reads, and the choice of stock has a flavour.

Bookstores where you can go in and buy a book by an author you've never heard of, because someone working at the shop can make a favourable comparison to an author you love.

Bookstores where you can browse and sit and make friends with a book before you buy it.

Bookstores where the staff don't need a computer to navigate the shelves with--WITH, not FOR, nor AT--you.

The fate of the book as a physical object is, like all species, evolution and ultimate extinction. But I don't see the heat-death of the universe anywhere nearby, and books still demand shops.

I don't care how sophisticated it gets, online bookselling will never let you handle the book, flick through it at your own pace, and get to know it before you buy it. People need that. Books need that.

It's not just nostalgic, kindle-despising, anti-e-reader booklovers who need it. It's not just people with a slight fetish for the glue or whatever.

If e-readers replace books completely, or even nearly completely, I shall stand dejectedly corrected on that front, but now, right now, that hasn't happened.

The only reason this seems so catastrophic, I think, is because it's so public. In combination with connectivity, high-speed communication, and the relative scarcity of discretion and critical thought, chicken-little has gone all candyman.

People who know nothing about the publishing industry, nothing about bookselling, nothing about business, nothing about economics, and fuck all of anything about anything relevant, can make a witless analysis and convince an unprecedented number of other people that the sky is, in fact, not only falling, but it is doing so with the intent to rape you to death with exploding knives that shoot flaming bees.

That, to me, seems the greatest danger to the whole book thing. If people are too afraid to open small bookshops because Borders died and every wanker with an internet connection and an opinion is foretelling the doom of the written word, then the whole industry could indeed shit the bed.

But. It seems the less likely outcome. For the short term, we will look upon a wasteland, but over the next five years or so I do predict that books still want stores, and we shall have our bookshops back. For a while.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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