Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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October 20, 2010

Learning from History

By Laura Drake

I saw a blog that interviewed, among others, the agent, Pam Strickler.  She had this to say about the current storm in publishing:  “There’s good and bad news. It’s kind of like the paperback revolution.”

It hit a synapse in my brain, and several others down the road fired (for a change), and led me to the following epiphany. 

If we step back and take the long view, the equivalent of the tsunami that we’re experiencing in publishing has happened a million times before.  The train was heralded as the end of the country’s overland routes.  The automobile was seen as the extinction of the horse.  Heck, I’ll bet that the invention of the chariot was gossiped to be the end of the cart, back in Roman days! 

I remember, as a kid, going to the Matinee at the Civic theatre in my home town on a Saturday.  There was a poster warning of the dangers of movies being televised; it showed a television (they were large back then, only the screens were small!) with a coin box on top, insinuating that you’d be inserting coins in an appliance YOU owned!  OMG! 

As we all know, most of the above dire portents didn't come to pass – we do pay for TV now, just not through a coin machine. But for the most part, we’ve slipped almost seamlessly from one advanced technology to the next.  The ebook, and how books will be sold in the future, will be the same, I’m sure.

We need to sit back, take a deep breath, and realize that although books may morph to the next iteration, stories will not go away, because people need and want them.  As long as there are stories, they’ll need someone to tell them, and that’s where we come in.

Don’t you think that the clan was aghast, watching the first person draw a stick horse on the wall of a cave?   “There goes all the story telling!  Who will need them, when you have a picture?”

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