The Future of Publishing

Yesterday, I stumbled across an incredibly simple but brilliant video about the end of publishing. It was produced by the marketing staff at Dorling Kindersley, a division of Penguin Group, for a recent sales conference. It talks about why Generation Y (those born between 1977 and 1994) thinks that books are dead and boring.

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader or email, then click here.

Or does it? You be the judge. Make sure you watch the video through to the end. It may surprise you.

Question: What do you think about the future of books?
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  • Matt Edmundson

    Clever. Reminds me of the Lost Generation video – I've just had a look and that video has now had over 12 million views.
    My recent post 5 steps to doing something about your fear

  • Timothy Fish

    I haven't a clue about the future of books, but I'm sure we're bound to see several more of these roll it backwards things before people realize the novelty has worn off. I feel like people are making claims one way, rolling it backwards and expecting people to believe that the reverse is fact, just because they can roll it backwards. If we're going to make these claims, whether it is this one, the lost generation video or any other, we need to back it up with something more concrete.
    My recent post E is For Erotic?

  • Peter Eleazar

    I was involved in banking when the era dawned. It did not kill traditional banking, because it worked best as a complementary channel. Electronic offerings will also serve best as complementary channels? e-Books are better suited to short content, but they also lower entry barriers and could facilitate authors' next-steps. Thus, a multi-channel strategy could facilitate publishing, but it would also facilitate the marketing of what is published, because users want an experience, not just a one-dimensional event. The tangibility of books has never lost appeal – people like to feel a book, bookcase it, share it, swap it, go back to it … and that will last, just as the tangible experience of shopping will only ever be complemented by e-shopping. Books for younger people are evidently growing, but to be honest there always was a demographic that would not read – as it was when I was at school, so it is today.

  • Peter Eleazar

    Let the porn industry show the way – bet that got you to sit up. I subscribed to an international thinktank in DC that provided best practice research for banks. One study they did related to the porn industry. What they found was that porn was ouliving other internet offerings. Their research indicated that it had to with instant gratification. Now I deplore what they offer, but the lesson informs other marketing businesses. The shift from print to e-media may have far more to with a deeper human need, one that is as old as the hills – the need to connect, which is especially relevant in what has become quite a depersonalised world. Human touch is a very powerful ad-mix in marketing, yet remains almost elusive. By complementing formal publishing with experiential channels that connect authors to readers and enhance their overall experience, publishers may entrench their relevance in a changing world. (my analogy is not meant to offend, but to make a vital contribution to the ensuing debate).

  • John Richardson

    I think that Generation Y, like any other generation has both types of people. You can't make a sweeping generalization forwards or backwards or you'll miss half of the population. I have a lot of generation Y co-workers and I can attest they are as diverse as my baby boom generation. If you focus on creating a product that is remarkable, has great quality, and has a message, you'll have all generations knocking on your door!
    My recent post Twitter: Finding Amazing People to Follow

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  • Juan

    Hi Mike, I think the publishing industry has changed, and people who do not adapt to the new normal will surely disappear. as a consumer, I read hard-copy books, but honestly I read more on the screen of my laptop, for example I can zoom in/out, if there is a word I do not know the meaning I just click and get what I want, right there and there. That's why – everybody is looking (at least most people I know off) are expecting for the ideal ebook reader.

    • Michael Hyatt

      There are a lot of advantages to eBook readers if people are open. I still like some kinds of books better as physical artifacts, but, by and large, I like the convenience and portability of having my library with me.

      • Juan

        You said it right! Portability and convenience makes the difference! :)

  • @emuelle1

    That format was impressive the first time I saw it. Read it through one way, and it's a negative. Read it back in reverse, and it's a positive. To me, it gives off an aura of being contrived. I wonder how long it took them to arrange the words and statements to give the right message they wanted to convey in each direction. It doesn't feel to me like the words of a member of Gen-Y.

    That said, I have no idea what the future of publishing is, but it's not going to disappear. One thing I would like to see more of is your Nelson Free program. I really like the idea of being able to get one book in multiple formats. I recently got the urge to go through "I'll Make You An Offer You Can't Refuse" again, but I didn't have time to sit down at home with the hardcover. No problem; I had the audiobook as well. I listened to it on my iPhone.
    My recent post Congrats to Brad Isaac! 80% of Success is Just Showing Up

  • WomenLivingWell

    Wow! That was a POWERFUL video – amazing how going forward it read one way and backward the other!!! Genius! Just this week, some moms at Bible study were "debating" whether facebook is right or wrong. A bunch of them think it's a drain on time – which in turn makes it wrong to them. Then my sister said "The world is on Facebook, the world is on the internet. We can either go there and join them and make an impact or retreat. But if you don't join them – that doesn't mean they are going away – they are still all there."

    This generation is definately different in the way they connect – and most of my generation has followed them – some are resisting. I am passionate about reaching women through my blog and I have no idea how publishing will change but I look forward to having a front row seat to watch!

    Great video!
    My recent post Good Morning Girls Update

  • Simon Hay

    I think it’s all about marketing and forward thinking. Ebooks have unlimited potential. You can incorporate new content: video interviews, marketing trailers, advertising (a win for everybody), how about partnering with a phone company ($20 credit with every new release purchase), bite sized chapter by chapter sales (the first chapters would have to be great, game on writers), video games that evolve with story lines, how about alternate endings to thrillers, the option to pick characters, a code that unlocks live streaming video, and and and! Come on everybody aren’t we supposed to be a creative industry?
    Why not partner with Samsung, Panasonic, pick a company, Coke—an ebook shaped like a coke bottle with a holographic screen. Digital technology is evolving at a phenomenal rate. How about an ebook that emits a frequency to fool you into believing you have a book in your hands, the smell of a library?

  • AndrewComings

    Very creative, very well done. I think that the future of books is assured, as long as publishers understand e-technology and embrace it. In the "rising tide lifts all ships" vein, I see the popularity of digital content resulting in a surge of popularity for traditional books.
    My recent post Shall We Gather At the River…To Open a Checking Account

  • Dan Rockwell



    I think paper books are going the way of the 8-track, TV's that have knobs, and radios.

    Having said that, I love books. I love how they feel, smell, and look. I love perusing the shelves of my library. You can't say that about e-books. And, I love using the old fashioned writing utensil called a pen to mark all over them. Key word, old fashioned.

    Here's how the old is dying.

    I'm using my Kindle when I'm away from my books. However, one day, my electronic library will out grow my paper library. Then what technology will I use more frequently? One day, a young friend will come to my house to admire those antique dust collectors filling my shelves.

    The old technology is dead. It's going to take a few years before it realizes it.

    Love your blog.

    Leadership Freak
    Dan Rockwell
    My recent post The first lie I told at work

    • Peter Eleazar

      The marketing sweetspot is almost always in the middle. Extremes either give you low volumes or low margins or both. The middle in this debate is a mix of paper and e-media. I could list many marketing reasons why that is so. The best analogy that comes to mind is the car – all cars were starting to look alike as they pursued ideal efficiency, but that killed differentiation, so style came back – and the pendulum will also swing back for the publsihing market. In fact books may well rise to the challenge and take on new and exciting formats.

  • Simon Hay

    Part 2.
    Imagine lying in a hammock, tapping the side of your raybans (the publishing company has won a 7 figure contract to publish online into the rayban 2020), you’re reading without the harmful effects of UV and microwave, blink to scroll, you fall asleep, a sensor detects you’re asleep and you’re taught another language subliminally.
    I don’t know. How’s the future of publishing looking?
    Or, we could all think globally: make forestry a sustainable industry, create jobs, a win for the environment, market books as saving the planet, partner with billion dollar countries, never have to worry about digital piracy, and read to our children.

  • Theresa Lode

    I was disappointed at the copy cat feel of the video. (Yes, I saw the Lost Generation video too.)
    I think what gives me more hope over the future of books was the charming bookstore that was more than a bookstore that Seth Godin featured in a recent blog, "Books you don't need in a place you can't find."
    It's not just the book that thrills my heart alone, it's the opportunity to curl up…to have quiet…to think and get inside the mind of another person. And a cup of good coffee elevates the whole experience to nirvana.
    I miss the days of quiet libraries and feel sad for the kids who will never experience the magical feeling I got when I entered its hushed environment. Are libraries a thing of the past too? I hope not.
    My recent post What if college just isn’t for everyone?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I didn’t see the Lost Generation video until after I posted this. I agree: it is definitely a copy-cat. Still, I think the message is valid. I just wished it had been delivered in an original way.

  • Cindy Beall

    The future of books is alive and well with me, that's for sure. I can't imagine sitting on a beach somewhere or out by a lake without one of them in my hand. It allows me to escape a little. And I don't mind that.

    But I was born in 1970. What do I know?
    My recent post Spring Break 2010

  • Pat Layton

    Oh my….After watching the musical guest "stars" on American Idol last night, I thought I was DONE as far as understanding the youth culture. I mean really. "Blah,Blah,Blah" for goodness sake.

    This inspires me and urges me forward!

    Thanks for sharing!!
    My recent post Getting Naked with Ps 139–Part 2

  • Ron Lane

    I have seen a couple of these videos that shows a reversal. It is very effective to make you think about the situation. I like what is said about the publishing in this video.

    As I continue to read more and more, it is nice to see that I have options to read on multiple platforms.

    Thanks for trying to stay ahead of the game.

  • Michael

    I don't know much about the publishing, but as an avid reader I know what a book is like. Nothing compares to how a book feels in your hands while you are sitting in your nook at you home. I do appreciate E books as well and I understand their capabilities, but I will always love having a book in my hands…
    My recent post I Hate Taking Out the Garbage

    • Michael Hyatt

      I feel the same way about candles. ;-)

  • todshuttleworth

    Very clever video. I agree that books are not going away, but there will continue to be a shift to other forms of media as well.

  • Daniel Decker

    Great video. I’ve always been a bit suspect of studies that come out on Gen Y or Gen X and how they view certain things like religion or in this case books…. Using that information to forecast future trends. Call me crazy but when I was in my late teens or early 20’s neither reading books nor religion had the same place in my life as they do now. I didn’t read much or go to church regularly then. My priorities were different. If someone had polled me at age 22 and asked me about something like NPR I would have responded saying it was boring and old… little would I have know than only a few years later I’d find myself tuning in regularly and actually enjoying the shows. How we engage with things changes with time, technology, our age and our maturity. I don’t personally think books will ever die… there will just be more ways to consume the same content based on the preference of the reader and where they are in their life cycle. There is just no longer a one size fits all approach.

  • Colleen Coble

    Wow, powerful video! I hear from my younger readers even more than older ones. They are passionate about what they like. It bodes well for books and publishing. :-)

  • James

    The future of books in my opinion will be great. The delivery system will change from print to digital, but reading and writing will always be with us. The internet has changed every industry, some more than others. Publishing appears to be one of the next industries that will be transformed. The good thing is regardless of the medium, the cream always rises to the top and those who understand and embrace new technologies will be winners. Those who refuse them will most likely end up like Kmart and Sears who didn't see Wal-mart coming until it was too late.

  • Amy Nabors

    Very cool video. I'm an avid reader and their is nothing like holding a book in your hand. I do believe the publishing industry is changing. When I look around my small house and my waning space for books I do think a kindle would be nice, but I know it would be an adjustment to how it feels in my hands. It wouldn't have that smell of a new book. My son has loved a bookstore since he was a toddler. At age 4 he would open a new book and breath in deeply and say "Mommy don't you love that smell." The industry may be going the way of the electronic reader, but there's just something magical about the smell and feel of a traditional book.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I don't think it is either/or, but both/and. Think of candles and electricity or airplanes and trains. The old forms continue to exist.

      • Todd J

        My question is not whether print will continue to exist but whether “passenger” print will exist as anything but Amtrak.

  • Seleena

    Being a mother of two Gen Y'er, I get a glimps of their minds looking at all my childrens' friends. They are bright, questioning and cannot be pegged. They march to their own drum and it is very refreshing. The positive/negative video really depicts that. Thanks for sharing

  • @michaelramm

    WOW! What an awesome video! Personally, I LOVE books (born 1971). I cannot stand to read anything of any length on a computer screen (ironic, that I am an IT Manager by trade). I love to hold a book, mark it up as I read, and re-read the good ones over and over. That said, I am seriously contemplating the purchase of a Kindle or Nook in 2011.

    I was at B&N looking for the Heath brother books, recommended by Michael on 15 March 2010, and realized that heft of books that I was carrying. I remembered the fact that the trip took up 45 mins of my 60 min lunch break. Now I have to carry them around to get them read. With a Kindle/Nook, I could have bought and downloaded them without leaving my office, and I would be carrying significantly less weight then all of the books. Sure, the startup cost is high, but eventually there would be a savings in the cost of the e-books versus the actual books. I am not sure that I will go through with the purchase next year because I like holding books that much.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yea, the convenience is amazing. I am generally reading 4-6 books at a time. With a Kindle (and next an iPad), I always have them with me.

      Thanks for your input.

  • Ali

    I thought that was a wonderful video. I am in my late 30s, and I know that many who are younger than I tend to prefer the internet and e-books. Nonetheless, I prefer the actual feel of books in my hands. There is something to be said for marking up a book and having a book in front of you to see as a whole.

    I do think the internet has opened up a whole new world, and I work in an industry where research on the internet is a necessity. At the end of the day, though, I want to read a book instead of looking on a screen.

  • Bernadine

    Great video!__I know there is much out there to read and many ways to read it.__However, the feeling of an actual book, the ability to highlight, circle and make notes in the margins__is incredible for me! A world without books is a sad place.
    My recent post Whispers of Love

  • Forrest Long

    That’s a great video. And its double message is what we are hearing constantly- Publishing is dead/ Publishing has a real future! Publishing simply has to be listening to the marketplace, be flexible and creative- just like Thomas Nelson is doing!

  • Ken Summerlin

    I guess I've been living under a rock somewhere. I haven't seen one of these "roll it backwards" messages and the novelty of the medium is fresh and interesting for me although apparently it's "old news" for some others. I'd be surprised if I was alone as a "rock dweller" and that, I think, is a point worthy of consideration when pondering the future of publishing. Diversity in the population means that there is not just one best answer for how to package information for every person. That's why we still have newspapers, radio, television, and the internet all existing at the same time, although not in equal measure. Some people get information via blogs and books and other via Facebook and Twitter. It's why we have both vanilla and chocolate ice cream. I don't know what the future of publishing will be but I hope that it will continue to be diverse and creative, just like the people who utilize it.
    My recent post The power of "being there"

  • @find_ch

    I'm a youth pastor. I'm with hundreds of teens every week. The future consumer. The present consumer.

    I'm also a published novelist. While I adore physical books, I create them on my iMac, and never end up reading the physical copy.

    My favorite books seem immortal, and therefore must be obtained for my library "in the flesh." I suspect that view is shared by many. As a result, particular works will always have a viable clientele. But more informational-based reading–particularly that which I gather–is expendable, at least with regard to it's transfer vehicle. The inconvenience of a hard copy is annoying.

    So I argue that the question is not the generation, so much as it is the content. Give my epic fantasy that immerses in another realm, and I'll pay the price to keep it beside my bed; but tell my the 10 steps to managing people and I'll bookmark your website for free. ch:

  • Víctor Guerra

    At the first part of the video I was in shock! I felt it like the end of the world (not just for publishing). Because if Generation Y was thinking that way, there will be no hope for my children.
    Living in Mexico gives you a wider perspective… Technology is great for sure, since it offers many advantages, but the need for books are HUGE!!! There are millions of people around the world that need to have a book in their hands.

  • Mario Mattei

    I'm Gen Y. I listen to audio books, own a kindle, read short ebooks, and would NEVER stop buying paperbacks and hardbacks. Still my preference!

    For traveling, I like to bring two paper books, a few on my kindle, and a variety of podcasts… maybe an audio book too. This helps me with limited carry on, and limited desire to lug around 9 books.

    I don't share this sentiment for music albums… I don't miss plastic CD cases, etc.
    My recent post Charter for Visual Peace

  • David Alves

    Books will remain long after electricity and technology have failed and disappeared. Especially great books!

  • Steve Grizzle

    With a little work and thought, that video could go a hundred different directions. As the ministry leader for new member recruitment for my church, I immediately thought about changing that video to "The Future of the Church is Dead".

    As for books, on some level I know that I should think about a Kindle or I-Pad but I can't get past the feel of the book in my hand as I lay on the couch at 2 in the morning with a book I can't put down. I can't get past taking my kids to the local bookstore and watching them pull book after book off the shelf that they want me to buy. Books are not just about reading. They are about the experience, at least for me. This is where bookstores and publishers must go, in my opinion. Engage me. I want you less like Wal-Mart and more like my local wine shop that knows me as I walk in and always has a recommendation handy. That will keep me buying.

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  • Anne Trudel

    Fabulous, simply fabulous. I have seen videos that rolled backward before, but this one really encouraged me. Reminds me that we cannot simply make assumptions about an entire generation. I am both encouraged and challenged by the Miillenial Generation. We have our work cut out for us to reach them in new ways…but the possibilities are endless. That may require just a bit of work (read in classic British understatement here) for those of us in the publishing industry.

  • Mason Stanley

    Reading through the comments and your replies I came across your statement, "I don't think it is either/or, but both/and." In my uneducated assumption I would have to agree with you. I don't believe hard copies of publishings will fade out. I'm not a fiction reader, not because I don't like it, but because I am way to praticle for my own good. I like books that I can sit down with, take a high lighter and a pencil, mark up the pages; take my own notes and process the information.
    As 3rd and 4th generation e-readers are revealed I imagine they will try and synthesize that process, which is great, I'll make use of it! However, I will not get rid of, nor stop buying hard copies of books. The publishing company that does not adapt will surely die, but the publishing company that excells at both will surely succeed! Thank you for the thought provoking post!
    My recent post The Purposeful Burden

  • Mitch Ebie

    Very clever video. I am part of generation Y and I prefer to hold a book in my hands. I am pretty sure that publishing is not going to die. If the argument was saying that certain fonts would die off or that hard back books would dies off, I might think that was possible, but to say that people will eventually not want a tangible and physical product is not going to happen. The computer is trying to be like a book, but in my opinion the book needs to become more like a computer.

  • ThatGuyKC

    Whoa! At first I was very discouraged by this video and then it caught me off guard and gave me hope for my generation, literacy, and the impact of publishing.

    Btw, I don't care what Lady Gaga is wearing. :-)
    My recent post A Perfect Weekend

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  • CherylSmith

    Cool video Mike. There are so many important insights that can be gleaned. I came up with at least five (wrote them in a post just now) – but maybe the most significant is the mobile market. It seems to me that publishers and authors who get the mobile piece right will own more of the market share in the very near future and beyond.
    My recent post The Future of Publishing (VIDEO) Has Me Thinking

  • aldrichdesign

    Thank goodness for the second part of this!! I was getting depressed. Thanks for sharing this. I am encouraged.

  • Stephanie Shott

    Fascinating and challenging! Keeping our eyes and ears open to the culture of readers awaiting the next book that gives them a reason to read. That's such a huge part of an author's quest.

    We used to buy DK books back in the day when we homeschooled our children. DK has come a long way.

    Great video – Great post!
    My recent post Prisoners of Hope

  • Chuck Fromm

    Over 10 years ago I discovered and then eagerly read what has turned out to be a very profound book. The book’s title? The Future of the Book (Berkeley; University of California Press, 1997). At the time, I was in the PhD program at Fuller Seminary and writing my own book, as well as raising a family of five great kids and operating my own publishing enterprises. (Maranatha! Music and Worship Leader magazine). As you probably know very well, the epitome of literacy is the stamp of PhD…at least in some circles. However, I was advised by my mentor Peter Drucker not to “waste your time” on this path but if I insisted, “do it in six months and then get on with your life calling to bring new song to the Church.”

  • Chuck Fromm

    Part II…..Well the process of writing my own book didn’t take six months but rather eight years; perhaps if I had stopped working and being a husband and parent, I might have finished in five years. My mentor may have seen it as a waste, but frankly the PhD book making process was of great gain. Why? Because of the socialization process I discovered in the academic community. Most of the scholars I was able to meet were highly collaborative; they were early adopters of new media, way out front of the private sector, using bulletin boards, emails and other electronic means of communication.

  • Chuck Fromm

    Part III Back to Future of the Book, one chapter of that book written by Carla Hess was especially on point for this conversation. Carla reemphasized the fact that “the medium is NOT the mode.” Other communication scholars like the late Marshall McLuhan and Walter Ong have said essentially the same thing. In this case Hess focuses on the book as a medium and its mode “culture.” Culture as a term is problematic but for this purpose it has to do with “habits” surrounding the book, e.g., the legitimizing of knowledge that the book form brings. Or in other words, can you imagine homes, studies, offices without book cases, etc.? To know the future of the book, Hess says is to first understand its history and sociology.

  • Chuck Fromm

    Part IV….The future of the book then rests on much more than simply new medium vs. old medium. It has much more to do with what the form of the book symbolizes and the means by which it creates meaning. Behind the question of the media form are the implications of social practices and how they are changing e.g., our notions of authorship (will the true book writers—known as “ghost”—become more visible in the future? As we move towards more informal pedagogies (folk culture) and more people are allowed into the knowledge production business and the idea that everyone has a contribution to make gains strength vs. the romantic notions of the single “know it all” renaissance man/woman, what will that mean? …. Like most books this reply is FAR TOO LONG… If you would like the rest of my thoughts on the topic just email me !

  • madrigals

    Clever and interesting video, however, being Gen Y (1982) and perhaps I am in the minority, but I loovvvve my books. I like to hold them, bend them, and most importantly WRITE in them. My books are MARKED UP and I love that I can do that. Going completely digital takes away a big peice of joy from reading for me.

    Besides that point, I also like the fact that a book always "works." It's never out of battery and I never have to call tech support. It doesn't fail. If I am stuck in an airport, line, or whatever, I can simply pull out a book. I don't need to do anything to it or say "Darn it! I forgot to charge the thing!"

  • cherylblemine

    I went to journalism school in the 80s. Major "nervousness" surrounded the field and predictions were that newspapers would vanish. Thirty years later many newspapers – mainly the ones with adaptability and good financial practices – are still around doing what they do best.

    I'm a realist. I think that it's easier to give up or predict doom for a form of communication than get in there, think in challenging new ways and make it happen.

    To me, the point of the aforementioned video is that perspective in important. Communication on any level – newspapers, books, etc – is challenging but I believe there are communicators – many of whom read this blog – who know that sending a clear message and having it received and understood are worth all the efforts – without respect to the generation in which our readers are born.
    My recent post FAITH: Mouth wide open

  • patriciazell

    In my family and my high school, I have seen both sides of this video. This school year, my 11th grade curriculum has included To Kill a Mockingbird and across the board, my students have resisted reading it. Yet, I also have included a independent novel project where my students could choose any novel they liked and then complete novel response packets for their books. The kids enjoyed the project and did well. Since today's readers embrace their freedom of choice, our challenge is to provide them with content they can't help but to choose.
    My recent post #34 THE DOING OF BELIEVING: FAITH (2)

  • Luke Gedeon

    You know, I was rather disappointed to see knights in shining armor go the way of clay tablets thanks to those blasted muskets. And losing heraldry with it… that was the worst loss of all.

    But, heraldry never did go away. It just changed a bit. And now it is better than ever.

    Don't despair. Books will continue on forever as a forever huge part of our lives. Generation Y will mostly reject books, but the millennials will bring them back and publishers will live fat and happy forever.

    Oh, and that video…. totally did not connect. It was baby-boomer one direction and X the other. Totally missed the point.
    My recent post Cliches: Any Value Left in There?

  • Susan Cushman

    Brilliant. My friends, River Jordan and Shellie Tomlinson Rushing, are on a book tour of seven states right now, interviewing booksellers and bookclubs about the future of publishing. They are having an informal "parlor talk' at my house on March 31. I think they'll find we're hopeful about the publishing world:-)

  • Speckle

    Wow! this was enlightening!

  • Sara Rassler

    I'm a senior in high school and I don't think that books are dying. Most students can't afford a Kindle, or don't want it stolen. Most students realize that it's harder on their eyes to read from a screen instead of a book. Students are the future of our world, and until every school in the nation starts buying Kindles and other eBook readers, books will still be around. The only time I read an eBook or a Google Book snippet is when I need to do research and I don't feel like lugging around a book. I think -fiction- books will continue to be made from trees.

    Love reading your blog, Michael, we've used a few of your posts as discussion starters in my Service Leadership class.

  • Tim Dahl

    Well, I'm not in Gen Y, though I'm awful close. I was born in 1973, so I'm not sure what it makes me.

    I still like the feel of a book, though I would love to be able to afford an Ipad, and use the digital version. I do most of my research online, digital journals and such. Yes, I do look at wikipedia, though I would never quote it in a paper. If I can ever afford the technology/service, I'm sure I will be more of a digital reader. However, I'll always keep paper favorites on the shelf. I'll always take some time to grab some coffee and my current reading material, if for no other reason that the digital is just as temporary as it is eternal.

    What do I mean by that. 1) It is eternal. We never write anything on the web that we won't want to see ever again. There will always be a copy of it somewhere. In a sense, it is eternal. However 2) it is also horribly temporary. Or perhaps, I should say horribly fragile. Sure, no fire will eat up your digital copy if it is stored out in the nether. But, hard drives crash, servers go down, and our wonderful technology goes kapoot in some way shape form or fashion.

    So, at least for the time being, I see digital copies on the rise, and possibly paper copies falling a bit. But, there will be a place for both in the here & now, and possibly in the here & after.

    My recent post Epiphany – Mr. Banks Gets It!!! #MaryPoppins

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  • Gladwell Musau

    Wow. I am glad I stuck to the END of the video. Oh…that is one incredible confirmation. It is us , authors, aspiring or published and publishers who need to listen rather to ourselves and the positive that is being said…and discard the negative that book publishing is dying out. Someone said it well….'EVERY CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING' So…I will be looking out for the Silver rather that getting discouraged by the cloud!!!


    My recent post DOES HE KNOW YOUR ADDRESS?

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  • bondChristian

    Wow, I love backwardness. I'm going to try to write something like that. Thanks for sharing.

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

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  • John Young

    Two sides/perspectives to every story. I can’t wait to live long enough to see which version of this video resembles the real world we’ll live in. I believe content is king but we are just so bombarded with more content that at times it becomes noise. I’m looking harder than ever, even now, for the things that have impact. It’s so easy for a lot to just be redundant.

  • Kyle Watson

    This may sound too simple and without deep thought. I think we are going to have more options for all people. Readers and writers of all types will have many options. The future will give every voice a chance to be heard. And people will decide what they like and don't like. You will have all kinds of small, medium, and large networks of writers. And each writer will have a fan base of readers.

    Then again. Who knows.

  • tamstew

    What a fantastic video!! Very clever. I'm enjoying watching the industry transform. I LOVE reading; my parents instilled that in me from a very young age (born 1974). I read fiction and non-fiction, and I always read non-fiction with a pencil to mark up, take notes, and underline text. I'm very interested in the e-readers, iPads, etc. I've never tried to read an entire manuscript on my computer so I'm not sure if I can see myself curled up in bed with an iPad, but on the other hand, I can't say I couldn't. I don't know what's going to happen, but I love watching it all unfold….now THIS has the makings of a good book! ;-)

  • Andrew

    I've been trying to keep abreast of the publishing situation as a wanna-be author, and I keep seeing many people proclaim the end of publishing as we know it. Even comments here have boldly labeled books as antiquated; make way for the digital revolution! Just out of curiosity, I Googled the total number of Kindle owners in the world. Do you now how many Kindles are out there? By Q4 of 2009, Amazon had sold 1.5 million units. Now, considering the United States has a population of well over 300 million people, that's not very much (and I might add that Amazon is selling worldwide). In fact, just considering the U.S. alone that makes Kindle users less than 0.5% of the population. I realize there are other digital readers out there, but seriously? Books are not dead until they are in the minority. I'm not saying it couldn't happen; just don't be so quick to judge. Good video, even if it was inspired by another. Thanks Michael!

  • Victoria


  • Sheridan Voysey

    Not just a nice piece of analysis – a brilliant piece of writing. Anyone ready to write a back-to-front-to back book yet? I’m starting this afternoon…

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  • Catherine Jaime

    I followed the link to this from one of your more recent blog entries.  I have to admit to being alarmed at the beginning of the video – though 10 of my 12 children would technically be “Gen Y’s” that don’t fit that original model!  

    But it was fun to see it play out to the end…As a reader and a writer I definitely see books as alive in well in paper and as e-books, and likely to stay that way for some time to come!

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