Why Traditional Books Will Eventually Die

The book, as we know it today, will eventually die. It won’t happen all at once. And it won’t happen immediately. But, in my opinion, it is inevitable. Why? One word: efficiency.

a tombstone for books, rip

The essence of technology is that it makes things more and more efficient. It automates processes—or completely eliminates them. As it does so, it takes costs out of the system. Once it is unleashed, it generally can’t be stopped.To quote Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, “The book publishing industry is perhaps the last bastion of analog [non-digital] technology.” This is so because the book itself is such an amazing piece of portable technology. I won’t rehearse the value of this technology; it has been well-documented in other places.

Nevertheless, the book publishing process is begging to be improved. Consider the following inefficiencies that plague the system:

  1. The book manufacturing process is inefficient. As Newsweek noted in their article on the Amazon Kindle, “We chop down trees, transport them to plants, mash them into pulp, move the pulp to another factory to press into sheets, ship the sheets to a plant to put dirty marks on them, then cut the sheets and bind them and ship the thing around the world.”

    How much longer will an increasingly environmentally-conscious public tolerate this kind of waste? There must be a better way.

  2. The book distribution process is inefficient. For starters, retail bookstores have limited shelf space. Almost 200,000 new books are published each year. This doesn’t include the millions that are already in print (what the publishing industry terms “backlist”). Publishers have to persuade booksellers to stock their books.

    Then, once the bookseller places his order, the publisher ships them to the store, where someone has to unpack them and put them on already over-crowded shelves. If the bookseller doesn’t sell the books, he ships them back to the publisher, where they are processed and placed back into inventory. Sometimes, they are even shipped back to the same account!

    If demand for the book disappears, the books are sold to “remainder” houses who often re-sell them to the same bookstores for pennies on the dollar. (Sometimes, I think that the only ones making money in the publishing business are the trucking companies.)

  3. The book buying experience is inefficient. If I want a book today, I have to get in my car and drive to a local bookseller. The first challenge I have is to see if the store even stocks the book I want. If it’s a bestseller, I can usually find it at the first store. If not, I will more often than not waste a trip.

    Then, If I can find the book, I have to go through the checkout process. Sometimes this is not a big deal; other times, I have to wait in line for five to ten minutes. This doesn’t sound like much but it creates additional friction in the buying experience.

    While I’m reading the book, I have to transport it with me. On a recent trip, I took three books in addition to my laptop. When my kids go to school, they take an entire bag full of books. It’s a hassle.

    Then, when I finish the book, I have to store it. Don’t get me wrong, I love books—I love surrounding myself with books. (You should see my house.) But I, too, have limited shelf space. Currently, I have a separate storage facility housing books I don’t have room for in my home or office.

    Retrieving information is also a hassle. I have to remember where I stored the book and then I have to remember where in the book I actually read it. This process can take any where from a few minutes to hours.

So, again, traditional books won’t disappear overnight, but the drive for more efficiency will radically alter the industry over the next few years. A device like the Amazon Kindle solves most of these problems. It makes the manufacturing, distribution, and buying experience much more efficient. While this may not be the exact device that creates the tipping point, I think it does move us significantly in that direction. The digital path is more clearly marked than ever.

As a result, publishers, printers, and booksellers need to come up with a game plan for how they will respond. Most of us have a plan, but we need to move faster. I don’t think we have much time. The clock is ticking.

Update: Please read my response to some of the comments I have received in my new post entitled, Is It Really Books That We Love?

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  • http://www.bookcalendar.blogspot.com Nishan Stepak

    It is a very nice thought, but totally impractical. There will always be the printed word. Computers don’t reduce the amount of paper being produced, they increase the total amount of books being produced. What will happen is something called instabook, where you will be able to get your book in electronic format, printed on demand in paper, or loaded into an ebook.

    Choice is important for people. People do not tend to get rid of technology, they tend to add to it. There are now more books being printed not less. Ebooks are just another choice which adds to the total availability of books in general.

    We will soon have something called electronic ink, or e-ink where we will be able to include paper thin electronic images in books so you will be able to mix media, having both print and electronic pages together. I think you got it wrong.

  • http://eoinpurcellsblog.com Eoin Purcell

    Michael,

    Regarding efficiency, everything you say is true. Except that we have often chosen to live with inefficiencies simply because the cost of change is high.

    Perhaps we don’t pay the up front cost of the inefficiency or prefer the world as it is and fear the world as it would be in the new efficient era.

    Whatever the reason, people resist change and if consumers resist e-books (as they have to date) the inefficiencies of the publishing industry won’t convince them to go digital.

    That said I think you are right, in the long run and especially in niche segments and educational publishing. Trade will just be behind the curve perhaps.

  • http://www.joewikert.com Joe Wikert

    Mike, you’re absolutely right and it’s just a matter of time. I just finished reading Jeff Gomez’s new book, “Print is Dead.” I *highly* recommend it for anyone in the content business. He draws upon several interesting analogies in his argument that print is currently in a death spiral. One of his more intriguing examples…candles. Once upon a time they were a key source of light. Now “the candle has lost its function and turned into an art.” Yes, books will always exist but they’ll become more of a relic.

    Btw, I don’t think this is all going to happen because of Kindle. In fact, I tend to look at the Kindle as a crude starting point for a much richer product of the future. As I mentioned on my own blog, look at the original iPod from 2001 and compare it to the iPhone of today. Now apply that same vision to the Kindle and imagine what it could become several years down the road…

  • Kyle Olund

    Well, this is just a little threatening to my career. I won’t start losing sleep over it . . . yet. I can totally see how we are moving in this direction with text books and business books, but I don’t see it happening as quickly with novels and children’s books. As for the latter genre, we panic when one of our girls cannot find their library book before school–I cannot imagine the feeling we’ll experience when we think she has lost her $399 Amazon Kindle loaded with every edition of the Nancy Drew series. :)

  • Kyle Olund

    Joe Wikert mentioned the book PRINT IS DEAD. Sounds interesting, but I do wonder why the author didn’t release it exclusively as an electronic download. You know . . . since print is dead. ($24.95 HC, but there is a Kindle edition.)

  • http://www.bookcalendar.blogspot.com/ Nishan Stepak

    It is a very nice thought, but totally impractical. There will always be the printed word. Computers don't reduce the amount of paper being produced, they increase the total amount of books being produced. What will happen is something called instabook, where you will be able to get your book in electronic format, printed on demand in paper, or loaded into an ebook.

    Choice is important for people. People do not tend to get rid of technology, they tend to add to it. There are now more books being printed not less. Ebooks are just another choice which adds to the total availability of books in general.

    We will soon have something called electronic ink, or e-ink where we will be able to include paper thin electronic images in books so you will be able to mix media, having both print and electronic pages together. I think you got it wrong.

    • Jusmcc

      Choice is an importance!!!

  • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary E. DeMuth

    I don’t really like this information! Can I be honest and say that? Am I the only sentimental fool around who loves to hold a book? Not to mention the tactile joy of touching my very own book with my name on it!

    Gotta go curl up with my computer now . . . time to read.

  • http://eoinpurcellsblog.com/ Eoin Purcell

    Michael,

    Regarding efficiency, everything you say is true. Except that we have often chosen to live with inefficiencies simply because the cost of change is high.

    Perhaps we don't pay the up front cost of the inefficiency or prefer the world as it is and fear the world as it would be in the new efficient era.

    Whatever the reason, people resist change and if consumers resist e-books (as they have to date) the inefficiencies of the publishing industry won't convince them to go digital.

    That said I think you are right, in the long run and especially in niche segments and educational publishing. Trade will just be behind the curve perhaps.

  • http://www.joewikert.com/ Joe Wikert

    Mike, you're absolutely right and it's just a matter of time. I just finished reading Jeff Gomez's new book, "Print is Dead." I *highly* recommend it for anyone in the content business. He draws upon several interesting analogies in his argument that print is currently in a death spiral. One of his more intriguing examples…candles. Once upon a time they were a key source of light. Now "the candle has lost its function and turned into an art." Yes, books will always exist but they'll become more of a relic.

    Btw, I don't think this is all going to happen because of Kindle. In fact, I tend to look at the Kindle as a crude starting point for a much richer product of the future. As I mentioned on my own blog, look at the original iPod from 2001 and compare it to the iPhone of today. Now apply that same vision to the Kindle and imagine what it could become several years down the road…

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    Kyle,

    I really don’t think this threatens your career or mine—unless we refuse to change. We are in the content distribution business. Traditional books are just one delivery vehicle.

    Thanks,

    Mike

  • http://historyandhope.com/ M.L. Eqatin

    This makes me think of my journey from draftsman into CAD user. There wasn’t any publisher middleman between me, the designer, and my clients, so I can’t comment on that part. But the unbelievable storage and retrieval convenience of the electronic medium is incomparable. Not to mention ‘editing’ (changing the design). Once I had to erase half the drawing to add six inches to a room in the center. Now I just group and move the whole chunk over with a mouse.
    No more rolls of plans under the couch or collecting dust in the attic. Who would ever go back?
    It makes me think that in an odd way we are completing the ancient loop to the storyteller, where the artist creates for a local consumer whose instant response is part of the process. This electronic medium will eventually take us back to that satisfying (but alas, low-paying) place.

  • http://historyandhope.com M.L. Eqatin

    This makes me think of my journey from draftsman into CAD user. There wasn’t any publisher middleman between me, the designer, and my clients, so I can’t comment on that part. But the unbelievable storage and retrieval convenience of the electronic medium is incomparable. Not to mention ‘editing’ (changing the design). Once I had to erase half the drawing to add six inches to a room in the center. Now I just group and move the whole chunk over with a mouse.
    No more rolls of plans under the couch or collecting dust in the attic. Who would ever go back?
    It makes me think that in an odd way we are completing the ancient loop to the storyteller, where the artist creates for a local consumer whose instant response is part of the process. This electronic medium will eventually take us back to that satisfying (but alas, low-paying) place.

  • http://historyandhope.com M.L. Eqatin

    This makes me think of my journey from draftsman into CAD user. There wasn’t any publisher middleman between me, the designer, and my clients, so I can’t comment on that part. But the unbelievable storage and retrieval convenience of the electronic medium is incomparable. Not to mention ‘editing’ (changing the design). Once I had to erase half the drawing to add six inches to a room in the center. Now I just group and move the whole chunk over with a mouse.
    No more rolls of plans under the couch or collecting dust in the attic. Who would ever go back?
    It makes me think that in an odd way we are completing the ancient loop to the storyteller, where the artist creates for a local consumer whose instant response is part of the process. This electronic medium will eventually take us back to that satisfying (but alas, low-paying) place.

  • Kyle Olund

    Well, this is just a little threatening to my career. I won't start losing sleep over it . . . yet. I can totally see how we are moving in this direction with text books and business books, but I don't see it happening as quickly with novels and children's books. As for the latter genre, we panic when one of our girls cannot find their library book before school–I cannot imagine the feeling we'll experience when we think she has lost her $399 Amazon Kindle loaded with every edition of the Nancy Drew series. :)

  • Kyle Olund

    Joe Wikert mentioned the book PRINT IS DEAD. Sounds interesting, but I do wonder why the author didn't release it exclusively as an electronic download. You know . . . since print is dead. ($24.95 HC, but there is a Kindle edition.)

  • Dino

    In one of the first comments, Nishan said that technology dies, I disagree. of course technology dies or is replaced. look at the music and film industry and even the information storage industry. VHS, tapes, punch cards, the typewriter, telegraph machines, floppy disks, even the hard drive is being replaced. Flash drives will replace hard drives, CDs replaced tapes, and they will be replaced by digital media on hard drives, online on iPods etc. snail mail will be replaced by email, nobody uses a typewriter anymore, because its not practical. The same will be for books, they take up far too much space, they are heavy and inconvenient. if i can make something smaller, lighter, easier to use, more mobile, then i will use it. that’s not to say that books will stop being printed tomorrow, but over time, they wil be replaced by more efficient media.

  • dino

    To add. and I have said this before. The Kindle is not the device, another device already exists that is better, has more functionality and is priced the same. the iPhone, or even the iPod Touch with Books installed, it can be used as a reader. see this great article:

    http://www.9to5mac.com/Kindle-doesn%27t+hold-a-candle-to-iPod-iPhone-3452362

  • http://www.marydemuth.com/ Mary E. DeMuth

    I don't really like this information! Can I be honest and say that? Am I the only sentimental fool around who loves to hold a book? Not to mention the tactile joy of touching my very own book with my name on it!

    Gotta go curl up with my computer now . . . time to read.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    Kyle,

    I really don't think this threatens your career or mine—unless we refuse to change. We are in the content distribution business. Traditional books are just one delivery vehicle.

    Thanks,

    Mike

  • http://historyandhope.com/ M.L. Eqatin

    This makes me think of my journey from draftsman into CAD user. There wasn't any publisher middleman between me, the designer, and my clients, so I can't comment on that part. But the unbelievable storage and retrieval convenience of the electronic medium is incomparable. Not to mention 'editing' (changing the design). Once I had to erase half the drawing to add six inches to a room in the center. Now I just group and move the whole chunk over with a mouse.
    No more rolls of plans under the couch or collecting dust in the attic. Who would ever go back?
    It makes me think that in an odd way we are completing the ancient loop to the storyteller, where the artist creates for a local consumer whose instant response is part of the process. This electronic medium will eventually take us back to that satisfying (but alas, low-paying) place.

  • Dino

    In one of the first comments, Nishan said that technology dies, I disagree. of course technology dies or is replaced. look at the music and film industry and even the information storage industry. VHS, tapes, punch cards, the typewriter, telegraph machines, floppy disks, even the hard drive is being replaced. Flash drives will replace hard drives, CDs replaced tapes, and they will be replaced by digital media on hard drives, online on iPods etc. snail mail will be replaced by email, nobody uses a typewriter anymore, because its not practical. The same will be for books, they take up far too much space, they are heavy and inconvenient. if i can make something smaller, lighter, easier to use, more mobile, then i will use it. that's not to say that books will stop being printed tomorrow, but over time, they wil be replaced by more efficient media.

  • dino

    To add. and I have said this before. The Kindle is not the device, another device already exists that is better, has more functionality and is priced the same. the iPhone, or even the iPod Touch with Books installed, it can be used as a reader. see this great article:
    http://www.9to5mac.com/Kindle-doesn%27t+hold-a-ca

  • Clay

    I am certain printed books will never go away entirely because there will always be a book with “writing” in it in Heaven, the Lamb’s Book of Life (Rev. 21:27). I also have to believe God will return long before this world ever replaces printed Bibles with digital eBibles. When the Word of God becomes only the words of God stored in impermanent magnetic binary code, I believe this world will have reached an eternal tipping point. I cannot imagine a world without the printed Word of God. Just one man’s opinion.

  • http://pastorhacks.com Bob Hyatt

    Not sure I buy it… :)

    I can’t remember the last time I actually went to a store to get a book I wanted. Other than big releases like Harry Potter, if I want something, I order it online.

    One too many times of hearing (at the Cristian bookstore!) “Sorry, we don’t have that, but we can order it” showed me exactly what I needed to do to get books- order them.

    Let me posit something here- something that I think makes perfectly good business sense, but is going unspoken here.

    I think many book publishers will get behind electronic print like this for the simple reason that it cuts out the secondary market.

    Once I’ve read the book, I can no longer sell it, loan it, give it away.
    Like DRM, it makes a lot of sense from a content provider standpoint, but we’re going to run into exactly the same problems- people who want to free their content.

    Personally, there are certain reference materials and books I’d be happy to have in cheap(er) electronic form. I’d love to carry a library of commentaries around with me (I’m the pastor of a church that meets in a pub- so my office is Starbucks).

    BUT… I gotta say… Amazon should have hired some ex-Apple designers to help with this device.

    Looks like something from the early 90’s, to be honest :) Though cheers on the EVDO delivery! great thinking there. Jeers on charging to subscribe to blogs. That’s just plain silly!

  • Clay

    I am certain printed books will never go away entirely because there will always be a book with "writing" in it in Heaven, the Lamb's Book of Life (Rev. 21:27). I also have to believe God will return long before this world ever replaces printed Bibles with digital eBibles. When the Word of God becomes only the words of God stored in impermanent magnetic binary code, I believe this world will have reached an eternal tipping point. I cannot imagine a world without the printed Word of God. Just one man's opinion.

  • http://pastorhacks.com/ Bob Hyatt

    Not sure I buy it… :)

    I can't remember the last time I actually went to a store to get a book I wanted. Other than big releases like Harry Potter, if I want something, I order it online.

    One too many times of hearing (at the Cristian bookstore!) "Sorry, we don't have that, but we can order it" showed me exactly what I needed to do to get books- order them.

    Let me posit something here- something that I think makes perfectly good business sense, but is going unspoken here.

    I think many book publishers will get behind electronic print like this for the simple reason that it cuts out the secondary market.

    Once I've read the book, I can no longer sell it, loan it, give it away.
    Like DRM, it makes a lot of sense from a content provider standpoint, but we're going to run into exactly the same problems- people who want to free their content.

    Personally, there are certain reference materials and books I'd be happy to have in cheap(er) electronic form. I'd love to carry a library of commentaries around with me (I'm the pastor of a church that meets in a pub- so my office is Starbucks).

    BUT… I gotta say… Amazon should have hired some ex-Apple designers to help with this device.

    Looks like something from the early 90's, to be honest :) Though cheers on the EVDO delivery! great thinking there. Jeers on charging to subscribe to blogs. That's just plain silly!

  • http://www.resrandi.com/the-end-of-printed-books Resurrecting Randi

    The End of Printed Books?

    Despite the graveyard-full of e-book readers, Amazon tries again with its Kindle book reader. Thats fine, but a really thoughtful discussion of the future of printed books can be found at the blog http://www.michaelhyatt.com/fromwhereisit/2007/1

  • http://www.resrandi.com/the-end-of-printed-books Resurrecting Randi

    The End of Printed Books?

    Despite the graveyard-full of e-book readers, Amazon tries again with its Kindle book reader. Thats fine, but a really thoughtful discussion of the future of printed books can be found at the blog http://www.michaelhyatt.com/fromwhereisit/2007/1…..

  • http://www.psonnets.org/ Michael

    I work at a bookstore. A significant number of my customers do not come for one book. They come for the browsing experience. They may have just one book in mind, but they appreciate the inefficiency of the shelving categorizations. Almost anything that injects efficiency into the browsing experience does so at the detriment of lingering customers.

    These customers do not want to browse books from a computer screen at a kiosk. We have the tech to reduce a superbookstore to perhaps one eighth of its size. There would be kiosks, perhaps a virtual bookstore, and customers could “browse” the “shelves” for books. Then a printing and binding machine would spit the book out at purchase.

    There are plenty of ways to cut down on the time and resources wasted, but some people want to waste their time browsing books. A brave, new world of bookstores will not change this. I sense it sometimes when I look into sections at my megachain outlet. There has to be more than this! But how can I find those books? I cannot unless another reader or some algorithm tells me about the book. I never will find that book on the bookshelf at the bookstore or even at the library.

    Introducing more efficiency may worsen, not lessen, this problem.

  • http://www.psonnets.org/ Michael

    I work at a bookstore. A significant number of my customers do not come for one book. They come for the browsing experience. They may have just one book in mind, but they appreciate the inefficiency of the shelving categorizations. Almost anything that injects efficiency into the browsing experience does so at the detriment of lingering customers.

    These customers do not want to browse books from a computer screen at a kiosk. We have the tech to reduce a superbookstore to perhaps one eighth of its size. There would be kiosks, perhaps a virtual bookstore, and customers could "browse" the "shelves" for books. Then a printing and binding machine would spit the book out at purchase.

    There are plenty of ways to cut down on the time and resources wasted, but some people want to waste their time browsing books. A brave, new world of bookstores will not change this. I sense it sometimes when I look into sections at my megachain outlet. There has to be more than this! But how can I find those books? I cannot unless another reader or some algorithm tells me about the book. I never will find that book on the bookshelf at the bookstore or even at the library.

    Introducing more efficiency may worsen, not lessen, this problem.

  • http://www.timothyfish.net Timothy Fish

    I uploaded a book for the Kindle this afternoon (I wonder if that will be called “making kindling?”). What I discovered is that I know more about the Kindle than I thought I did. Files are converted into a nonstandard form of HTML. It is missing some of the tags. They have added a few tags. There is no support for a scripting language. It appears that vector graphics is not supported either.

    The Kindle has some major problems that prevent it from being a major contender in replacing print books, but there is one thing I like about it. Amazon’s overzealous attempt to hype this device has gotten people talking. People are asking what will happen if people do start reading books in an electronic format rather than their current form. If the computer is the new paper and HTML is the new ink then it will be the software guys who will be driving the publishing industry. I believe that the saving grace for the traditional publishers in that type of environment will be the issue of quality. Improved quality will result in better sales. Publishers will no longer have the luxury of being the only option available and the only way that an author can see his work in print. Instead, publishers will need to be the best thing available and authors should want to see their work with the publisher’s name on it because it gives his work creditability. That will probably mean fewer imprints, since readers currently don’t pay attention to the imprint unless it has a strong reputation or a very bad reputation with the reader.

  • http://www.thecelebratedfamily.com Wendy Schulz

    Michael,
    I truly hope you are wrong. Although we may chose to use new technologies to get information faster and more effectively, long live the printed book. I hope my children’s children have the same relationships with books that I have. Snow is about to fall here in Denver, a fire is going in the fireplace – somehow a Kindle does not fit into this picture. I am going to curl up with a real book, either an old favorite or a new adventure. As for your comment on the environmental impact of the publishing world. I completely disagree. The hundreds of thousands of Kindles sitting in the dump when the Kindle 2.0 comes out in about 18 mos will have a much greater long term environmental impact.

  • http://www.timothyfish.net/ Timothy Fish

    I uploaded a book for the Kindle this afternoon (I wonder if that will be called "making kindling?"). What I discovered is that I know more about the Kindle than I thought I did. Files are converted into a nonstandard form of HTML. It is missing some of the tags. They have added a few tags. There is no support for a scripting language. It appears that vector graphics is not supported either.

    The Kindle has some major problems that prevent it from being a major contender in replacing print books, but there is one thing I like about it. Amazon’s overzealous attempt to hype this device has gotten people talking. People are asking what will happen if people do start reading books in an electronic format rather than their current form. If the computer is the new paper and HTML is the new ink then it will be the software guys who will be driving the publishing industry. I believe that the saving grace for the traditional publishers in that type of environment will be the issue of quality. Improved quality will result in better sales. Publishers will no longer have the luxury of being the only option available and the only way that an author can see his work in print. Instead, publishers will need to be the best thing available and authors should want to see their work with the publisher’s name on it because it gives his work creditability. That will probably mean fewer imprints, since readers currently don’t pay attention to the imprint unless it has a strong reputation or a very bad reputation with the reader.

  • http://www.thecelebratedfamily.com/ Wendy Schulz

    Michael,
    I truly hope you are wrong. Although we may chose to use new technologies to get information faster and more effectively, long live the printed book. I hope my children's children have the same relationships with books that I have. Snow is about to fall here in Denver, a fire is going in the fireplace – somehow a Kindle does not fit into this picture. I am going to curl up with a real book, either an old favorite or a new adventure. As for your comment on the environmental impact of the publishing world. I completely disagree. The hundreds of thousands of Kindles sitting in the dump when the Kindle 2.0 comes out in about 18 mos will have a much greater long term environmental impact.

  • http://blogs.msdn.com/jevdemon John

    Sorry Michael, but you couldn’t be more wrong about this. I love technology as much as anyone but nothing can replace the experience of holding, reading and flipping through the pages of a good book.

  • Ernst Kallus

    Michael

    That’s an interesting viewpoint but it’s simply not going to happen. Vinyl records, film photography and handmade bicycles should, by your argument, be obsolete by now but instead, they enjoy a strong following.

    I suspect that you’ve been deliberately disingenuous with this post, to gauge response?

    There is a final irony in your suggestion. Print On Demand, perhaps the most succesful digital process has as it’s output the printed book.
    As the French say, ” Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose” (The more things change,the more they stay the same)

  • Ernst Kallus

    Michael

    That’s an interesting viewpoint but it’s simply not going to happen. Vinyl records, film photography and handmade bicycles should, by your argument, be obsolete by now but instead, they enjoy a strong following.

    I suspect that you’ve been deliberately disingenuous with this post, to gauge response?

    There is a final irony in your suggestion. Print On Demand, perhaps the most succesful digital process has as it’s output the printed book.
    As the French say, ” Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose” (The more things change,the more they stay the same)

  • http://blogs.msdn.com/jevdemon John

    Sorry Michael, but you couldn't be more wrong about this. I love technology as much as anyone but nothing can replace the experience of holding, reading and flipping through the pages of a good book.

  • http://emuelle1.blogspot.com Eric S. Mueller

    I’ll be watching development on the Kindle and any competing platforms. I’m not yet ready to venture any opinions on success or failure, but I’m eager to see what happens. I’ve had several Pocket PCs in the last 4 1/2 years, but I’ve been very slow to move to eBooks. I currently have War and Peace loaded onto my Pocket PC, but I don’t read it much. One thing holding me back is the uncertainty of the competing formats and the unreliability of the formats themselves. If I buy an eBook in one format, what’s to say that the format developer will support the next version of Windows Mobile to come out?

    I have, however, fully embraced the Bible in electronic format. When my wife and I had our first child in 2004 and our second in 2005, I found it was much easier to simply use Pocket E-sword than to carry a printed Bible while struggling with a toddler and an infant car seat, then two toddlers.

    Over the last couple of years, I’ve even reached the point of carrying my laptop to church when I’m teaching. It’s much easier to teach a class from my electronic notes than to figure out how to get those notes into another format just for a 35 minute class.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    It’s so interesting to me that people are forming negative opinions without having actually tried the device. I got mine yesterday and plan to write on my first impressions today.

  • http://www.timothyfish.net Timothy Fish

    We live in a society that sensationalizes everything. People like Jeff Gomez make statements like “Print is Dead” so that people will be shocked enough to buy his book. People suddenly get the idea that “they’re going to take my books away!” What they are missing is that if and when it happens they won’t care.

    Imagine this: a soccer mom rushes out of the house on the way to soccer practice. She ends up sitting around waiting for her kids to get done with practice and all she can think about is that book that she forgot at home. “Does Bret marry Cindy or that awful woman Beth?” she wonders. She looks at her watch and realizes that she has a long time to wait. What is she to do? She pulls out her cell phone and considers playing one of the games that she bought for her kids to have something to do, but that isn’t what she wants to do. She wants to read her book. She remembers that she can access the text of her book on the Internet, for a fee. She isn’t sure that she wants to do that, but she really wants to know who Bret marries. It really isn’t that much money. What is $10 in the grand scheme of things? She really has to know if Cindy gets her man. A few second later, there on her cell phone is the text of the book she was readying. It is a little difficult to read and it isn’t as easy to find her place, but the story is all there, she can find out who Bret marries. She reads the text, scrolling through it as she goes. She reaches the last page of the novel. Who will he marry? And there on the screen he declares, “I have decided to become a priest.” To which the soccer mom says, “That is so stupid! Why did I waste my money on this book?” Welcome, soccer mom, to the world of the future.

  • http://emuelle1.blogspot.com/ Eric S. Mueller

    I'll be watching development on the Kindle and any competing platforms. I'm not yet ready to venture any opinions on success or failure, but I'm eager to see what happens. I've had several Pocket PCs in the last 4 1/2 years, but I've been very slow to move to eBooks. I currently have War and Peace loaded onto my Pocket PC, but I don't read it much. One thing holding me back is the uncertainty of the competing formats and the unreliability of the formats themselves. If I buy an eBook in one format, what's to say that the format developer will support the next version of Windows Mobile to come out?

    I have, however, fully embraced the Bible in electronic format. When my wife and I had our first child in 2004 and our second in 2005, I found it was much easier to simply use Pocket E-sword than to carry a printed Bible while struggling with a toddler and an infant car seat, then two toddlers.

    Over the last couple of years, I've even reached the point of carrying my laptop to church when I'm teaching. It's much easier to teach a class from my electronic notes than to figure out how to get those notes into another format just for a 35 minute class.

  • http://www.lawrencewilson.com Lawrence W. Wilson

    Looks like your post “kindled” a lot of buzz.

    I think I’m with Mary DeMuth on this one: I like holding a book, esp. one with my name on it!

    However, I’m totally addicted to my laptop as a source of communication …. I need to try this Kindle.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    It's so interesting to me that people are forming negative opinions without having actually tried the device. I got mine yesterday and plan to write on my first impressions today.

  • http://www.timothyfish.net/ Timothy Fish

    We live in a society that sensationalizes everything. People like Jeff Gomez make statements like “Print is Dead” so that people will be shocked enough to buy his book. People suddenly get the idea that “they’re going to take my books away!” What they are missing is that if and when it happens they won’t care.

    Imagine this: a soccer mom rushes out of the house on the way to soccer practice. She ends up sitting around waiting for her kids to get done with practice and all she can think about is that book that she forgot at home. “Does Bret marry Cindy or that awful woman Beth?” she wonders. She looks at her watch and realizes that she has a long time to wait. What is she to do? She pulls out her cell phone and considers playing one of the games that she bought for her kids to have something to do, but that isn’t what she wants to do. She wants to read her book. She remembers that she can access the text of her book on the Internet, for a fee. She isn’t sure that she wants to do that, but she really wants to know who Bret marries. It really isn’t that much money. What is $10 in the grand scheme of things? She really has to know if Cindy gets her man. A few second later, there on her cell phone is the text of the book she was readying. It is a little difficult to read and it isn’t as easy to find her place, but the story is all there, she can find out who Bret marries. She reads the text, scrolling through it as she goes. She reaches the last page of the novel. Who will he marry? And there on the screen he declares, “I have decided to become a priest.” To which the soccer mom says, “That is so stupid! Why did I waste my money on this book?” Welcome, soccer mom, to the world of the future.

  • Jo Marz

    Finally have to weigh in on one of Mike’s posts. Our technology is based on a constant and reliable source of electricity. If that supply is lost or becomes eradic, we may all have to return to the “candle” days. In the meantime, I hope Mike is right — and I suspect he is. Those of us who love and treasure books can still collect them – but our children and grandchildren will be buying and reading them differently…it’s a natural progression and frankly, one that I find personally exciting.

  • Fran Toolan

    Michael,

    Thank you for this. I feel like a lot of these comments don’t address the very fine points you make about our industry’s inefficency. They seem more focused on the Kindle itself.

    I don’t think Kindle will do it by itself, but with the proliferation of new devices that will spawn from this and from the iPhone in the next few years, I completely agree that the walls of our printed ‘fortress’ are crumbling, and publishers need to develop new methods to survive. Well done!

  • http://www.colleencoble.com colleen Coble

    Oh I hope you’re wrong! I agree with the person who posted about bookstores–the experience itself is pleasurable. I’ve bought many books I happened to stumble across in the bookstore. When I have a few hours to blow, I love to go to a bookstore and browse. I can see electronic books for non fiction though. But for fiction, I want to look around for a story that grabs me. You can’t duplicate that with electronic books. At least I don’t see how. I spend enough time on the computer as it is. Sometimes I want to get out and see people face to face. LOL

  • http://www.lawrencewilson.com/ Lawrence W. Wilson

    Looks like your post "kindled" a lot of buzz.

    I think I'm with Mary DeMuth on this one: I like holding a book, esp. one with my name on it!

    However, I'm totally addicted to my laptop as a source of communication …. I need to try this Kindle.

  • http://www.plaidfile.com/ Tim Bednar

    I watched Jeff Bezos.

    http://www.charlierose.com/shows/2007/11/19/1/a-conversation-with-amazon-com-ceo-jeff-bezos

    The most interesting notion that HE of all people asked, “Why hasn’t the book gone digital before?”

    I love technology, I read mostly online and now rarely pick up a book. However, the book is a virtually perfect technology.

    As opposed to every gadget out there which are so imperfect.

    I think the book is fine; its publishing that’s in trouble.

  • Jo Marz

    Finally have to weigh in on one of Mike's posts. Our technology is based on a constant and reliable source of electricity. If that supply is lost or becomes eradic, we may all have to return to the "candle" days. In the meantime, I hope Mike is right — and I suspect he is. Those of us who love and treasure books can still collect them – but our children and grandchildren will be buying and reading them differently…it's a natural progression and frankly, one that I find personally exciting.

  • Fran Toolan

    Michael,

    Thank you for this. I feel like a lot of these comments don't address the very fine points you make about our industry's inefficency. They seem more focused on the Kindle itself.

    I don't think Kindle will do it by itself, but with the proliferation of new devices that will spawn from this and from the iPhone in the next few years, I completely agree that the walls of our printed 'fortress' are crumbling, and publishers need to develop new methods to survive. Well done!

  • http://www.colleencoble.com/ colleen Coble

    Oh I hope you're wrong! I agree with the person who posted about bookstores–the experience itself is pleasurable. I've bought many books I happened to stumble across in the bookstore. When I have a few hours to blow, I love to go to a bookstore and browse. I can see electronic books for non fiction though. But for fiction, I want to look around for a story that grabs me. You can't duplicate that with electronic books. At least I don't see how. I spend enough time on the computer as it is. Sometimes I want to get out and see people face to face. LOL

  • http://guymuse.blogspot.com Guy Muse

    All the above is true, BUT I STILL LOVE BOOKS! I can’t imagine life without them.

    In regards to the future of books, I think they will be around for yet a long time, but bookstores will vanish from the scene. The amazon.com distribution is clearly the way of the future with millions of books to choose from and convenient shipping. Living in South America it is about the only way I can get the books I want.

    BTW, having said all the above, my favorite place to visit when we go Stateside are the local bookstores. I spend hours just hanging around and will usually buy something every time I am inside one.

  • http://www.plaidfile.com/ Tim Bednar

    I watched Jeff Bezos.
    http://www.charlierose.com/shows/2007/11/19/1/a-c

    The most interesting notion that HE of all people asked, "Why hasn't the book gone digital before?"

    I love technology, I read mostly online and now rarely pick up a book. However, the book is a virtually perfect technology.

    As opposed to every gadget out there which are so imperfect.

    I think the book is fine; its publishing that's in trouble.

  • Michael Edwards

    Books will never die. The process of printing books may change. The process of buying books may change. The process of publishing books may change. If the marketplace shifts to an electronic form of a book, a great place to be for a company would be in printing and supplying traditional books. The company would be the only business in that particular marketplace, a “blue ocean. Read Blue Ocean Strategy. There will always be some people who want a traditional, physical book. Some people LIKE the atmosphere of a bookstore. That will never die. Change yes, die no.

  • http://spudlets.wordpress.com Marc V

    After reading through the post I was struck by three things you lightly touched on:

    1. Digital text books – I expect a much different classroom in the future, where students will not be carrying around books but just a small storage device. Whey they get to their desk, they’ll go through a security check (fingerprint or eye-scan) and get their assignment transferred from the teacher’s links. It’s going on somewhat today at universities, where students are required to use certain laptops, and will eventually filter down to the high schools and maybe junior high (middle) schools. I doubt there will be much of a change in elementary schools, as it would be too much of a hardware headache for the under-12 crowd.

    2. Inventory management – Publishing houses not only have to find/develop/maintain writing talent, they also have to juggle inventory. Managers must have a good “gut feel” on how many books to produce for a printing as well as applying the proper marketing for the anticipated sales. With downloaded books the former is effectively eliminated, yet the latter skills (marketing) will be even more important in the cacophony of the internet. Everyone is trying to grab eyeballs on the web.

    3. Printing – Yes, there will always be some books printed. With the takeover of the market by the e-book, publishing companies can minimize inventory by basing a print order on the number of downloads. This will have the unfortunate effect of having only very popular books physically produced on paper, but that is the way the market is headed.

    I would be curious to hear [in general terms] about TNP’s inventory control over the last ten years, particularly as it relates to the demands of on-line giants like Amazon and CBD and their expectations for you delivering books to their warehouses. Every book sitting in your warehouse costs money, yet without an inventory you would be just a printer and not a publisher.

  • http://danieldarling.com Daniel Darling

    Mike,

    I respectfully disagree. People will always want books, the printed word. Nobody wants to read on a screen. Nothing will replace the urge to bring a book to the beach, in the car on a long ride, on a plane trip. It won’t happen.

    What will happen is the delivery of books will become more efficient.

    I personally think that this Kindle thing will be a big flop. Again, nobody wants to read a novel-length book on a screen, I don’t care how cool the screen is.

  • Barbara G

    Although I love books too, I’m very excited about e-books. Imagine carrying a lot of books in a thin aluminum case that weighs 8 to 12 ounces. Wonderful!

    And being able to choose the size of font for those of us who are getting older would be great.

    The tactile response to books is fine…but everyone adapts. Younger folks don’t have a love affair with paper that older folks have. And I’d rather save a tree that produces oxygen and houses animals than create a book that will eventually get tossed out. There’s now an acceptable alternative! And if you miss the swish of pages, get an e-book that adds that sound.

    Like Michael pointed out, the disadvantage is what happens when we “lose” our reader? Egads! $300 down the drain! Ack!

    But I’m anxious to try out the Kindle…or maybe the iPhone with text reader.

    :-)

  • http://guymuse.blogspot.com/ Guy Muse

    All the above is true, BUT I STILL LOVE BOOKS! I can't imagine life without them.

    In regards to the future of books, I think they will be around for yet a long time, but bookstores will vanish from the scene. The amazon.com distribution is clearly the way of the future with millions of books to choose from and convenient shipping. Living in South America it is about the only way I can get the books I want.

    BTW, having said all the above, my favorite place to visit when we go Stateside are the local bookstores. I spend hours just hanging around and will usually buy something every time I am inside one.

  • Mark Kuyper

    MIke,
    As you know I strongly support your efficiency argument for the expansion of digital delivery of content. I believe that business will always trend toward its most efficient means. I think the new technologies will help us communicate in creative new formats and modes of delivery. But I do think a printed book will remain one of those formats for the foreseeable future for two reasons.

    First, for most people there has to be a clear new benefit or convenience to make a change. We have always needed an electronic device to listen to music. Technology made music significantly easier to purchase, store, and transport in practically every situation. While this will be true for the distribution of a wide range of content and specific audiences in the publishing business, I think there will be exceptions. If a person is simply sitting in a chair at home reading a book for entertainment, it is probably not substantially easier or more convenient to do so on an electronic device. When there is no compelling reason to change, it usually doesn’t happen.

    Second, one of the great benefits of developing technology is that we can profitably create products in small quantities–we call it mass customization. The goal is provide every customer with exactly what they want, in the time and format they desire. Just as Ernst mentioned above, many music releases–both old and new– are available in vinyl. My guess is even though demand may be small, music companies are able to deliver these products cost effectively or they wouldn’t do it. I believe our print on demand technology will evolve to allow for the profitable production of a single print copy of almost any book, even at the retail level. This availability will ensure that print will never completely die, because there will always be somebody, somewhere who wants a traditional paper book.

    I think you have brought up a compelling thought that should not be dismissed casually. Our industry will need to adapt, and the sooner we can do it, the more likely we can avoid some of the pain music companies are currently experiencing.

  • Michael Edwards

    Books will never die. The process of printing books may change. The process of buying books may change. The process of publishing books may change. If the marketplace shifts to an electronic form of a book, a great place to be for a company would be in printing and supplying traditional books. The company would be the only business in that particular marketplace, a "blue ocean. Read Blue Ocean Strategy. There will always be some people who want a traditional, physical book. Some people LIKE the atmosphere of a bookstore. That will never die. Change yes, die no.

  • http://spudlets.wordpress.com/ Marc V

    After reading through the post I was struck by three things you lightly touched on:

    1. Digital text books – I expect a much different classroom in the future, where students will not be carrying around books but just a small storage device. Whey they get to their desk, they'll go through a security check (fingerprint or eye-scan) and get their assignment transferred from the teacher's links. It's going on somewhat today at universities, where students are required to use certain laptops, and will eventually filter down to the high schools and maybe junior high (middle) schools. I doubt there will be much of a change in elementary schools, as it would be too much of a hardware headache for the under-12 crowd.

    2. Inventory management – Publishing houses not only have to find/develop/maintain writing talent, they also have to juggle inventory. Managers must have a good "gut feel" on how many books to produce for a printing as well as applying the proper marketing for the anticipated sales. With downloaded books the former is effectively eliminated, yet the latter skills (marketing) will be even more important in the cacophony of the internet. Everyone is trying to grab eyeballs on the web.

    3. Printing – Yes, there will always be some books printed. With the takeover of the market by the e-book, publishing companies can minimize inventory by basing a print order on the number of downloads. This will have the unfortunate effect of having only very popular books physically produced on paper, but that is the way the market is headed.

    I would be curious to hear [in general terms] about TNP's inventory control over the last ten years, particularly as it relates to the demands of on-line giants like Amazon and CBD and their expectations for you delivering books to their warehouses. Every book sitting in your warehouse costs money, yet without an inventory you would be just a printer and not a publisher.

  • http://danieldarling.com/ Daniel Darling

    Mike,

    I respectfully disagree. People will always want books, the printed word. Nobody wants to read on a screen. Nothing will replace the urge to bring a book to the beach, in the car on a long ride, on a plane trip. It won't happen.

    What will happen is the delivery of books will become more efficient.

    I personally think that this Kindle thing will be a big flop. Again, nobody wants to read a novel-length book on a screen, I don't care how cool the screen is.

  • Barbara G

    Although I love books too, I'm very excited about e-books. Imagine carrying a lot of books in a thin aluminum case that weighs 8 to 12 ounces. Wonderful!

    And being able to choose the size of font for those of us who are getting older would be great.

    The tactile response to books is fine…but everyone adapts. Younger folks don't have a love affair with paper that older folks have. And I'd rather save a tree that produces oxygen and houses animals than create a book that will eventually get tossed out. There's now an acceptable alternative! And if you miss the swish of pages, get an e-book that adds that sound.

    Like Michael pointed out, the disadvantage is what happens when we "lose" our reader? Egads! $300 down the drain! Ack!

    But I'm anxious to try out the Kindle…or maybe the iPhone with text reader.

    :-)

  • Mark Kuyper

    MIke,
    As you know I strongly support your efficiency argument for the expansion of digital delivery of content. I believe that business will always trend toward its most efficient means. I think the new technologies will help us communicate in creative new formats and modes of delivery. But I do think a printed book will remain one of those formats for the foreseeable future for two reasons.

    First, for most people there has to be a clear new benefit or convenience to make a change. We have always needed an electronic device to listen to music. Technology made music significantly easier to purchase, store, and transport in practically every situation. While this will be true for the distribution of a wide range of content and specific audiences in the publishing business, I think there will be exceptions. If a person is simply sitting in a chair at home reading a book for entertainment, it is probably not substantially easier or more convenient to do so on an electronic device. When there is no compelling reason to change, it usually doesn't happen.

    Second, one of the great benefits of developing technology is that we can profitably create products in small quantities–we call it mass customization. The goal is provide every customer with exactly what they want, in the time and format they desire. Just as Ernst mentioned above, many music releases–both old and new– are available in vinyl. My guess is even though demand may be small, music companies are able to deliver these products cost effectively or they wouldn't do it. I believe our print on demand technology will evolve to allow for the profitable production of a single print copy of almost any book, even at the retail level. This availability will ensure that print will never completely die, because there will always be somebody, somewhere who wants a traditional paper book.

    I think you have brought up a compelling thought that should not be dismissed casually. Our industry will need to adapt, and the sooner we can do it, the more likely we can avoid some of the pain music companies are currently experiencing.

  • Doug Smith

    One point you neglected to mention, Mr. Hyatt. In addition to breaking publishers away from the tyranny of the printing presses the e-book will empower authors to dispense with publishers. Like musicians and garage brands who post their music on the web, develop a following, start selling their music themselves, are then “discovered” by a recording company which offers them an “exclusive” recording contract, then decide, “What the heck do we need you guys for? And why should we turn everything over to you and accept crumbs for our work in return?”

    Well, of course, because only a professional publisher can give your book the market penetration which it deserves, and… yada, yada, yada.

    Not to worry. There will always be a need for a few publishers, just as some books (eg large, pictorial, coffee-table-type) will always need to be printed on paper. Nevertheless, I agree that most books can and should be delivered electronically. But that grand day will not arrive until a proper e-book reader exists; and we sure aren’t there yet.

    What I find most striking is how little progress the e-book reader has made since it was first invented by David Quammen more than twenty-five years ago. Quammen? Some before-his-time electronic genius? No. Just an uncommonly accomplished writer who routinely traveled to the remotest corners of the globe, where the only way in or out was the once-a-week flight of the puddle-jumper. Which meant that he was often at loose ends with a surfeit of time to kill and a paucity of available reading material. So he “invented” the e-book reader, described it in considerable detail in one of his “Natural Acts” columns in Outside Magazine, and granted the rights to his invention to anyone who would actually create it so that he could buy one.

    Compared to the gigantic improvements we’ve seen in the lowly PC, cell phones, portable music players and other electronic devices since then, advances in e-book readers are pretty paltry. None have gotten any traction in the marketplace, and Kindle 1.0 will be no exception. Why? Because the makers of these devices keep making the same bloody mistakes. They’ve all been too proprietary; and it appears that the Kindle is no different. They insist on cornering the market on the razor blades too, but the e-book reader which finally makes e-books viable will be an open platform with open architecture.

    The screen needs to be larger and in color. The Kindle’s screen may be fine for reading novels, but not the graphically-rich content of so many trade paperbacks and technical and reference books. Folks who buy those kinds of books will probably shell out for an e-book reader well before the paperback-novel-at-the-beach readers do.

    I truly do look forward to reading of your experiences with Kindle 1.0, but something more along the lines of the tablet PC (but cool-running with long battery life, light-weight and no keyboard) will be the e-book reader that finally delivers a market. As soon as it exists, I’ll buy one.

  • Jim

    It is a valid argument that there will remain, at least until our two oldest living generations pass on, an interest in the physical book. That argument is valid, but ignores what just a modest move to the digital business model will do to our industry from the reduction of price points.

    The music industry is analogous to our future, in that its typical product contained a small percentage of desirable content surrounded by filler and sold for, let’s say, $16.99. Now some percentage of the market downloads the two good songs off that CD for 99¢. Unless those songs sell 8 times more due to the low price point, the overall revenue is diminished while packaging, royalty, and overhead remain the same. While plenty of physical CDs are still sold, this one shift has been responsible for the reorganization of that whole industry.

    If we move to a digital model for the whole book, how long before we sell two chapters from a $24.99 book for 99¢ each? Unless we sell 12 times the revenue from the lower price point, and since authors and agents won’t likely agree to lower royalties, the remaining ways to recover this loss are lower cost of product (due to fewer physical books printed), and overhead. The change may come quickly or slowly, but when it comes it has the potential to be seismic. All publishers should be planning for this change.

  • Doug Smith

    One point you neglected to mention, Mr. Hyatt. In addition to breaking publishers away from the tyranny of the printing presses the e-book will empower authors to dispense with publishers. Like musicians and garage brands who post their music on the web, develop a following, start selling their music themselves, are then "discovered" by a recording company which offers them an "exclusive" recording contract, then decide, "What the heck do we need you guys for? And why should we turn everything over to you and accept crumbs for our work in return?"

    Well, of course, because only a professional publisher can give your book the market penetration which it deserves, and… yada, yada, yada.

    Not to worry. There will always be a need for a few publishers, just as some books (eg large, pictorial, coffee-table-type) will always need to be printed on paper. Nevertheless, I agree that most books can and should be delivered electronically. But that grand day will not arrive until a proper e-book reader exists; and we sure aren't there yet.

    What I find most striking is how little progress the e-book reader has made since it was first invented by David Quammen more than twenty-five years ago. Quammen? Some before-his-time electronic genius? No. Just an uncommonly accomplished writer who routinely traveled to the remotest corners of the globe, where the only way in or out was the once-a-week flight of the puddle-jumper. Which meant that he was often at loose ends with a surfeit of time to kill and a paucity of available reading material. So he "invented" the e-book reader, described it in considerable detail in one of his "Natural Acts" columns in Outside Magazine, and granted the rights to his invention to anyone who would actually create it so that he could buy one.

    Compared to the gigantic improvements we've seen in the lowly PC, cell phones, portable music players and other electronic devices since then, advances in e-book readers are pretty paltry. None have gotten any traction in the marketplace, and Kindle 1.0 will be no exception. Why? Because the makers of these devices keep making the same bloody mistakes. They've all been too proprietary; and it appears that the Kindle is no different. They insist on cornering the market on the razor blades too, but the e-book reader which finally makes e-books viable will be an open platform with open architecture.

    The screen needs to be larger and in color. The Kindle's screen may be fine for reading novels, but not the graphically-rich content of so many trade paperbacks and technical and reference books. Folks who buy those kinds of books will probably shell out for an e-book reader well before the paperback-novel-at-the-beach readers do.

    I truly do look forward to reading of your experiences with Kindle 1.0, but something more along the lines of the tablet PC (but cool-running with long battery life, light-weight and no keyboard) will be the e-book reader that finally delivers a market. As soon as it exists, I'll buy one.

  • http://www.timothyfish.net/Articles/Article.asp?ID=116 Timothy Fish

    As I have stated before, I agree in part, with what Doug Smith says here. A good book reader needs more features. I disagree with him on some other things. The Kindle has a proprietary internal format, but Amazon provides conversion software for many formats and HTML is the format used just prior to that final conversion. HTML is free to use for everyone.

    I do not agree that eBook Readers will allow authors to dispense with the publishers. In think publishers are in a precarious position right now because POD makes it possible for anyone to produce a product that looks very much like what the publishers are able to produce. However, when eBooks reach full maturity, the content and features that people will come to expect from an eBook will exceed the capabilities of the typical author by so much that they will have little choice but to hand their work over to a publisher. There will always be individuals whose skills are diverse enough to do practically anything, but widespread adoption of the eBook could encourage the decline of self-publishing.

  • Jim

    It is a valid argument that there will remain, at least until our two oldest living generations pass on, an interest in the physical book. That argument is valid, but ignores what just a modest move to the digital business model will do to our industry from the reduction of price points.

    The music industry is analogous to our future, in that its typical product contained a small percentage of desirable content surrounded by filler and sold for, let’s say, $16.99. Now some percentage of the market downloads the two good songs off that CD for 99¢. Unless those songs sell 8 times more due to the low price point, the overall revenue is diminished while packaging, royalty, and overhead remain the same. While plenty of physical CDs are still sold, this one shift has been responsible for the reorganization of that whole industry.

    If we move to a digital model for the whole book, how long before we sell two chapters from a $24.99 book for 99¢ each? Unless we sell 12 times the revenue from the lower price point, and since authors and agents won’t likely agree to lower royalties, the remaining ways to recover this loss are lower cost of product (due to fewer physical books printed), and overhead. The change may come quickly or slowly, but when it comes it has the potential to be seismic. All publishers should be planning for this change.

  • http://www.timothyfish.net/Articles/Article.asp?ID=116 Timothy Fish

    As I have stated before, I agree in part, with what Doug Smith says here. A good book reader needs more features. I disagree with him on some other things. The Kindle has a proprietary internal format, but Amazon provides conversion software for many formats and HTML is the format used just prior to that final conversion. HTML is free to use for everyone.

    I do not agree that eBook Readers will allow authors to dispense with the publishers. In think publishers are in a precarious position right now because POD makes it possible for anyone to produce a product that looks very much like what the publishers are able to produce. However, when eBooks reach full maturity, the content and features that people will come to expect from an eBook will exceed the capabilities of the typical author by so much that they will have little choice but to hand their work over to a publisher. There will always be individuals whose skills are diverse enough to do practically anything, but widespread adoption of the eBook could encourage the decline of self-publishing.

  • http://www.colleencoble.com colleen Coble

    Publishers will always be around! Any author knows writing is a partnership. My books are immensely better because of the input of my fabulous editors. Ami McConnell and Natalie Hanemann have a God-given talent that I couldn’t do without. My marketing director Jennifer Deshler is always on the lookout for new ways to get my books out to the public. Mark Ross puts out the best covers in the business. Allen Arnold has an amazing gift for seeing what might be with a little work. The publishing world–and my life for one–would be a sorry business without this partnership.

    It may be fun for some to imagine life without a publishing house but they would soon discover what a nightmare that would be and the quality of the books would suffer hugely. Count me out of that scenario!

  • http://www.colleencoble.com/ colleen Coble

    Publishers will always be around! Any author knows writing is a partnership. My books are immensely better because of the input of my fabulous editors. Ami McConnell and Natalie Hanemann have a God-given talent that I couldn't do without. My marketing director Jennifer Deshler is always on the lookout for new ways to get my books out to the public. Mark Ross puts out the best covers in the business. Allen Arnold has an amazing gift for seeing what might be with a little work. The publishing world–and my life for one–would be a sorry business without this partnership.

    It may be fun for some to imagine life without a publishing house but they would soon discover what a nightmare that would be and the quality of the books would suffer hugely. Count me out of that scenario!

  • Rachel Hauck

    Oh, Michael, I hope there is never an end to the printed word. My heart sinks at the idea.

    I LOVE going to book stores. I don’t like always buying from Amazon or other on line stores because I can only read the excerpt they choose to show me.

    I want to hold a book in my hand. If I have an e-book, I have to have yet another device to carry around, keep track of, make sure is up to date on software, compatible with all computer software, just like my iPod or phone or Mac.

    Technology is work. Book reading is pleasure. I don’t want a mini computer to read with after being on a computer all day. :)

    I love the cover and back copy of a book. E-books don’t have those.

    Now, for the reveal. My husband reads most of his space navy novels on his Palm Pilot. ;) He likes it because it’s cheaper and efficient. But he’s a very practical man and deletes all his books when he’s done.

    E-books are a great option for all books, I just pray they are not a replacement.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Michael to you and your family.

    Rachel

  • Rachel Hauck

    Oh, Michael, I hope there is never an end to the printed word. My heart sinks at the idea.

    I LOVE going to book stores. I don't like always buying from Amazon or other on line stores because I can only read the excerpt they choose to show me.

    I want to hold a book in my hand. If I have an e-book, I have to have yet another device to carry around, keep track of, make sure is up to date on software, compatible with all computer software, just like my iPod or phone or Mac.

    Technology is work. Book reading is pleasure. I don't want a mini computer to read with after being on a computer all day. :)

    I love the cover and back copy of a book. E-books don't have those.

    Now, for the reveal. My husband reads most of his space navy novels on his Palm Pilot. ;) He likes it because it's cheaper and efficient. But he's a very practical man and deletes all his books when he's done.

    E-books are a great option for all books, I just pray they are not a replacement.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Michael to you and your family.

    Rachel

  • http://www.wmebooks.com Yvonne DiVita

    Lots of good insight and content here. I, too, believe books will continue to be around for many, many years to come. But, I also think e-books and their readers will grow in popularity quickly. We publish via print-on-demand and that limits our access to having books on bookstore shelves (no returns allowed, and all) but it does not limit our creativity and dedication to helping our authors sell their books… their printed books.

    Technology is advancing rapidly… it would behoove all of us to keep up. But, the old ways, I hope, will continue to persist… there is nothing more rewarding and awesome than visiting an old bookstore and walking among the aisles of towering stacks of books…

    The smell, the sound of history whispering in the corners, and the feel of dusty covers cradling ancient text – the words of those who have gone before us, cannot be replaced by anything on a computer.

  • http://www.wmebooks.com/ Yvonne DiVita

    Lots of good insight and content here. I, too, believe books will continue to be around for many, many years to come. But, I also think e-books and their readers will grow in popularity quickly. We publish via print-on-demand and that limits our access to having books on bookstore shelves (no returns allowed, and all) but it does not limit our creativity and dedication to helping our authors sell their books… their printed books.

    Technology is advancing rapidly… it would behoove all of us to keep up. But, the old ways, I hope, will continue to persist… there is nothing more rewarding and awesome than visiting an old bookstore and walking among the aisles of towering stacks of books…

    The smell, the sound of history whispering in the corners, and the feel of dusty covers cradling ancient text – the words of those who have gone before us, cannot be replaced by anything on a computer.

  • http://www.unleashthebeautyandpoweroflove.com Herman Villanueva

    Mike,
    Efficiency! We strive to be the best at it. And we are progressing. However, there is a greater price we pay as a society. We squander the time we garner from efficiency. It is a vicious cycle.

    My first book will be published sooon. I hope it will be printed on paper. If not, that is okay with me as long people with noble inpirations can share their ideas.

    Herman Villanueva

  • http://www.unleashthebeautyandpoweroflove.com/ Herman Villanueva

    Mike,
    Efficiency! We strive to be the best at it. And we are progressing. However, there is a greater price we pay as a society. We squander the time we garner from efficiency. It is a vicious cycle.

    My first book will be published sooon. I hope it will be printed on paper. If not, that is okay with me as long people with noble inpirations can share their ideas.

    Herman Villanueva

  • Carsten

    The device seems promising. What no one has touched on too much, is that the whole thing seems to use proprietary file formats. Is this encoded? I would think so.
    That will cause the same conflict with respect to fair use as in the music industry. How for ex. does one read the a book and then pass it on to someone else? So long as only one person can use a current book at one time, this is a legal process. With glue-and-paper this is easy, but do I now have to give my Kindle to someone else, thus not being able to read any other book inside also? Its like loaning out ones library to someone who only wants one book from that.
    AND, what will become of libraries, will they be just reading rooms with e-book devices?

    Finally, lets get ready now for a replay of the sales downturn at the publishing houses, when the files are swapped inspite of any protction attempts, and then seeing the publishers join the lobby bandwagon to put in draconian charges in an ultimately futile attempt to protect their market.

    Content provision was a word used above, but that is not something people really will pay for long term. The less tangible a good becomes, the less people feel the need to remunerate for it.

  • Carsten

    The device seems promising. What no one has touched on too much, is that the whole thing seems to use proprietary file formats. Is this encoded? I would think so.
    That will cause the same conflict with respect to fair use as in the music industry. How for ex. does one read the a book and then pass it on to someone else? So long as only one person can use a current book at one time, this is a legal process. With glue-and-paper this is easy, but do I now have to give my Kindle to someone else, thus not being able to read any other book inside also? Its like loaning out ones library to someone who only wants one book from that.
    AND, what will become of libraries, will they be just reading rooms with e-book devices?

    Finally, lets get ready now for a replay of the sales downturn at the publishing houses, when the files are swapped inspite of any protction attempts, and then seeing the publishers join the lobby bandwagon to put in draconian charges in an ultimately futile attempt to protect their market.

    Content provision was a word used above, but that is not something people really will pay for long term. The less tangible a good becomes, the less people feel the need to remunerate for it.

  • http://www.timothyfish.net Timothy Fish

    Concerning Carsten’s comments, the Kindle does appear to use a proprietary file format, but this is not a limiting factor. Amazon has made it possible to convert several file formats into the format used by the device. For all practical purposes, the format that most of us will have to mess with is HTML and ZIP files, but the proprietary format is used at the device level. Potentially, the proprietary format will allow for more features than are permitted currently. The content of the device is essentially software and just as with a program you might run on your desktop, the publisher is licensing you to use the content on the device. Unlike a printed book where the existence of a physical copy prevents more than one person from using the book at once, with software and Kindle files it is necessary to prevent people from freely copying the files and sending them to their friends or publishers and authors will be unable to make money from their intellectual property.

  • http://www.timothyfish.net/ Timothy Fish

    Concerning Carsten's comments, the Kindle does appear to use a proprietary file format, but this is not a limiting factor. Amazon has made it possible to convert several file formats into the format used by the device. For all practical purposes, the format that most of us will have to mess with is HTML and ZIP files, but the proprietary format is used at the device level. Potentially, the proprietary format will allow for more features than are permitted currently. The content of the device is essentially software and just as with a program you might run on your desktop, the publisher is licensing you to use the content on the device. Unlike a printed book where the existence of a physical copy prevents more than one person from using the book at once, with software and Kindle files it is necessary to prevent people from freely copying the files and sending them to their friends or publishers and authors will be unable to make money from their intellectual property.

  • http://daveanthold.typepad.com/elevate Dave

    As you noted on an earlier post, Thomas Nelson has over 660 titles on Kindle already vs your competitors, how will your company evolve to stay with or better yet ahead of the curve?

  • http://daveanthold.typepad.com/elevate Dave

    As you noted on an earlier post, Thomas Nelson has over 660 titles on Kindle already vs your competitors, how will your company evolve to stay with or better yet ahead of the curve?

  • Randy

    Sit down by the fire with my favorite laptop or PDA and read a book? Never. Different materials? Possibly. New distribution methods? Maybe. More buying options? Probably. But the book as we know it today will not go away. I think you’re just overreacting to new technology.

  • Randy

    Sit down by the fire with my favorite laptop or PDA and read a book? Never. Different materials? Possibly. New distribution methods? Maybe. More buying options? Probably. But the book as we know it today will not go away. I think you're just overreacting to new technology.

  • David Todd

    My great-grand uncle Dave, after whom I’m named, passed down through my mom a fair number of books printed in the 1880s–and some earlier. Chaucer, Tennyson, Carlyle, Longfellow, Keats, Dickens, Shelley, a 1700s Bible, an 1843 Wester’s Dictionary, etc. Somehow, I just can’t see passing down to my great-grand nephew a 2007 Kindle, no matter how loaded it is, and consider it a family heirloom.

  • http://englishbibles.blogspot.com Wayne Leman

    I am certain printed books will never go away entirely because there will always be a book with “writing” in it in Heaven, the Lamb’s Book of Life (Rev. 21:27).

    Of course, we don’t know if the Book of Life will be electronic or printed.

    :-)

  • David Todd

    My great-grand uncle Dave, after whom I'm named, passed down through my mom a fair number of books printed in the 1880s–and some earlier. Chaucer, Tennyson, Carlyle, Longfellow, Keats, Dickens, Shelley, a 1700s Bible, an 1843 Wester's Dictionary, etc. Somehow, I just can't see passing down to my great-grand nephew a 2007 Kindle, no matter how loaded it is, and consider it a family heirloom.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    David,

    You’re right. Books will be like other antiques—an artifact of a previous time. They will still exist, just as candles exist alongside electric lights. But they will be more of an art object, as Jeff Gomez argues in Print Is Dead.

    Mike

  • http://englishbibles.blogspot.com/ Wayne Leman

    I am certain printed books will never go away entirely because there will always be a book with "writing" in it in Heaven, the Lamb's Book of Life (Rev. 21:27).

    Of course, we don't know if the Book of Life will be electronic or printed.

    :-)

    • Sumner

      The Book of life is electronic, and we are the elect-trons, God’s Family name is Elohim… Mega-tron
      Sumner Morrill Koch
      Son Messiah King
      SMK

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    David,

    You're right. Books will be like other antiques—an artifact of a previous time. They will still exist, just as candles exist alongside electric lights. But they will be more of an art object, as Jeff Gomez argues in Print Is Dead.

    Mike

  • Heidi

    Very interesting… The technology will be handy. Like most break-throughs, there will be good and bad after-effects I suppose. Efficiency often drives away the romantic or community-oriented experiences. The thought of losing “the book store experience” is very sad for me. Book stores have now become the new pub, it seems. People will have to reinvent new experiences, or maybe retailers will invent a brick-and-morter way for discovering digital media.

  • Heidi

    Very interesting… The technology will be handy. Like most break-throughs, there will be good and bad after-effects I suppose. Efficiency often drives away the romantic or community-oriented experiences. The thought of losing "the book store experience" is very sad for me. Book stores have now become the new pub, it seems. People will have to reinvent new experiences, or maybe retailers will invent a brick-and-morter way for discovering digital media.

  • http://realcleartruth.com/ Dean Cooper

    It’s good to see that some publishers see the writing on the wall. Naturally, it will be the younger generation that takes up a new device like the Kindle in huge numbers. My own 16-year old daughter nearly spent her Christmas money to get one. Instead she opted for an iPod Touch, but only because she figured the Kindle will be much improved next year. :) Once the price of Kindle comes down and and more content is available, you will start seeing them everywhere — and that’s a good thing for writers!

  • http://realcleartruth.com Dean Cooper

    It’s good to see that some publishers see the writing on the wall. Naturally, it will be the younger generation that takes up a new device like the Kindle in huge numbers. My own 16-year old daughter nearly spent her Christmas money to get one. Instead she opted for an iPod Touch, but only because she figured the Kindle will be much improved next year. :) Once the price of Kindle comes down and and more content is available, you will start seeing them everywhere — and that’s a good thing for writers!

  • Christopher Coulter

    Neither one will ‘die’, rather they will compliment each other. The printed book will live on, getting a boost from the reference ‘efficiency’ of the digital editions. Sounds so much ‘click vs. brick’ bubble economics.

    People don’t shop at bookstores efficiently, maybe a busy CEO does or has to, but the vast majority go to browse, to seek, to converse, to hunt, to casually read at the book coffee-shops. It’s an adventure. Nor do people read books “efficiently”, reading is enjoyment and savoring, not some process-efficient management-fad concept.

    As far as the buying consumer is concerned, the supposed book manufacturing and distribution ‘inefficiencies’ aren’t their problem. You are looking at the situation in reverse. If truly a ‘crisis’ then the publishing industry needs to provide a fix, as the product is still in heavy demand, and where there is demand, there is a market.

    Give unto books, what is due unto books, and give unto digital text what is due digital. And video didn’t kill the radio star either.

  • Christopher Coulter

    Neither one will 'die', rather they will compliment each other. The printed book will live on, getting a boost from the reference 'efficiency' of the digital editions. Sounds so much 'click vs. brick' bubble economics.

    People don't shop at bookstores efficiently, maybe a busy CEO does or has to, but the vast majority go to browse, to seek, to converse, to hunt, to casually read at the book coffee-shops. It's an adventure. Nor do people read books "efficiently", reading is enjoyment and savoring, not some process-efficient management-fad concept.

    As far as the buying consumer is concerned, the supposed book manufacturing and distribution 'inefficiencies' aren't their problem. You are looking at the situation in reverse. If truly a 'crisis' then the publishing industry needs to provide a fix, as the product is still in heavy demand, and where there is demand, there is a market.

    Give unto books, what is due unto books, and give unto digital text what is due digital. And video didn't kill the radio star either.

  • http://electricspec.com/ betsy dornbusch

    As an editor with an ezine, I love what the digital age is doing to reading and writing. More people are “published” than ever before.

    I hope the “backpack” full of books will be the first to go! Already most adults do much of their learning and research online, and younger students are no exception. I, like most of my collegues, do much of my editing, writing, and research on-screen.

    But that’s all work.

    I think it will be a long time before pleasure-readers are reading on their computer screens, handhelds, Kindles, or even TV screens with any regularity. I think you raise some valid points, but this is all driven by the consumer, and by vast majority, the consumers I’ve heard from want their novels in traditional book form.

  • http://electricspec.com betsy dornbusch

    As an editor with an ezine, I love what the digital age is doing to reading and writing. More people are “published” than ever before.

    I hope the “backpack” full of books will be the first to go! Already most adults do much of their learning and research online, and younger students are no exception. I, like most of my collegues, do much of my editing, writing, and research on-screen.

    But that’s all work.

    I think it will be a long time before pleasure-readers are reading on their computer screens, handhelds, Kindles, or even TV screens with any regularity. I think you raise some valid points, but this is all driven by the consumer, and by vast majority, the consumers I’ve heard from want their novels in traditional book form.

  • http://www.teawithtiffany.blogspot.com Tea With Tiffany

    This is one of my worst fears. The death of books. I can’t imagine not having something to hold on to like feels and smells like a book. I don’t like this at all.

    I prefer a book, a blanket over my feet, and a coffee or tea.

  • http://www.teawithtiffany.blogspot.com/ Tea With Tiffany

    This is one of my worst fears. The death of books. I can't imagine not having something to hold on to like feels and smells like a book. I don't like this at all.

    I prefer a book, a blanket over my feet, and a coffee or tea.

  • http://www.readingsteps.com Jerome Smith

    Like Mike mentions, I too have a house full of books. I even had a new book room built in our now expanded unattached garage.

    There is a super-short short story by Isaac Asimov, “The Fun They Had,” which in science fiction depicts an age where some children discover a real book. There is another short story by Walter Van Tilburg Clark, “The Portable Phonograph,” which depicts a lonely scene after the final War where a remote survivor, a professor, has managed to salvage and preserve just a few things to remember past civilization by. These are both worth reading.

    But in the “here and now,” I’m thankful Nelson Publishers are still producing fine books. Mine just came off the press (in China, at that!), Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible. If you don’t have it, see it under “reference” on Nelson’s main page, and get one.

    Every Christian who loves the Bible, and reads it, needs the Cross Reference Guide to the Bible.

    We use it in my family many evenings in the week. We sit down, choose a verse in the Bible to study, and read each cross reference in turn. Then, perhaps on another evening, we go back to the verse we studied and follow up the cross references marked with a “+” and turn to those passages in the Cross Reference Guide and read each verse given there in turn. This is one most inspiring and instructive way to get into the Bible, the Word of God.

    As for electronic Bibles and books taking over the market, I hardly think this will ever be. Constantly charging and replacing batteries is a nuisance, and should all our technology vanish, the book is still viable, electricity or not!

    Their one advantage for me is they save shelf space!

    For people who actually read, there is no substitute for a physical book. It is impossible to scroll through a book electronically with the same effect that it is possible to consult the pages of a physical book.

    I have many books in electronic form, but I always prefer using the real books on paper.

    It saves on our electric usage, too!

    What publishers need to do is make better uses of the resources they have access to now but fail to use properly–their published authors.

    At present, in my case at least, the author is left totally in the dark about what is happening.

    I just did a search for where Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible may be purchased locally. The only “in stock” link I found was to the Barnes and Noble Bookstore in Port Huron near where I live. That store has it because I went to the store, showed the book to the manager, and suggested she might like to carry an important Bible reference book by a local author, for I had already informed people that they could get it there.

    At this moment, Barnes and Noble is the only website which has a comment from a reader about the Cross Reference Guide. The reader was very pleased with the book.

  • http://www.readingsteps.com/ Jerome Smith

    Like Mike mentions, I too have a house full of books. I even had a new book room built in our now expanded unattached garage.

    There is a super-short short story by Isaac Asimov, "The Fun They Had," which in science fiction depicts an age where some children discover a real book. There is another short story by Walter Van Tilburg Clark, "The Portable Phonograph," which depicts a lonely scene after the final War where a remote survivor, a professor, has managed to salvage and preserve just a few things to remember past civilization by. These are both worth reading.

    But in the "here and now," I'm thankful Nelson Publishers are still producing fine books. Mine just came off the press (in China, at that!), Nelson's Cross Reference Guide to the Bible. If you don't have it, see it under "reference" on Nelson's main page, and get one.

    Every Christian who loves the Bible, and reads it, needs the Cross Reference Guide to the Bible.

    We use it in my family many evenings in the week. We sit down, choose a verse in the Bible to study, and read each cross reference in turn. Then, perhaps on another evening, we go back to the verse we studied and follow up the cross references marked with a "+" and turn to those passages in the Cross Reference Guide and read each verse given there in turn. This is one most inspiring and instructive way to get into the Bible, the Word of God.

    As for electronic Bibles and books taking over the market, I hardly think this will ever be. Constantly charging and replacing batteries is a nuisance, and should all our technology vanish, the book is still viable, electricity or not!

    Their one advantage for me is they save shelf space!

    For people who actually read, there is no substitute for a physical book. It is impossible to scroll through a book electronically with the same effect that it is possible to consult the pages of a physical book.

    I have many books in electronic form, but I always prefer using the real books on paper.

    It saves on our electric usage, too!

    What publishers need to do is make better uses of the resources they have access to now but fail to use properly–their published authors.

    At present, in my case at least, the author is left totally in the dark about what is happening.

    I just did a search for where Nelson's Cross Reference Guide to the Bible may be purchased locally. The only "in stock" link I found was to the Barnes and Noble Bookstore in Port Huron near where I live. That store has it because I went to the store, showed the book to the manager, and suggested she might like to carry an important Bible reference book by a local author, for I had already informed people that they could get it there.

    At this moment, Barnes and Noble is the only website which has a comment from a reader about the Cross Reference Guide. The reader was very pleased with the book.

  • david lynn reedy

    i mentioned to a friend of mine over four years ago that probpaly in our life time we would seen the end of printed books because affordable acess on the internet and software dealing withm ost anything to anyone liking. i have seen but was unable to afford at the time a great cd-rom catolaue set up of great commentaries, versions reputable bible translations the genea, the king james rsv nasb, goodspeed, moffat, beck and the catholic pirest knox, exegetical works of the great theologins,augustine,wycliff, luther, calvin, zwingli, wesley, hus. unfortanely prostestans has too long ingorned and snubbed great catho.lic theologins, francis, julian of norwhich, catherine of siena, the beguines, ignastius of loyola, aquinas, eckhart and many others. however the cd did a good comparison of spurious attempts at ungoldy convolutions of theolog ies and translations by the likes such as darby, scofield and drake. i think some such as Kenneth Scott Latourette or schaff are great.

    would an intergrated, interrelatioanl, ecumenical oriented book work if written? i would love to resreach and write such a book. i work on two volumes of the completed biblical library printed by the publishing arm of the assemblies god denomation called the gosple publishing house with a company called world library press. love to discuss this in detail with you, sir.

    thanks micheal for sharing your time and place in space so now the ‘space time continuim has a little box! how infinately, eternal is that, not!

  • david lynn reedy

    i mentioned to a friend of mine over four years ago that probpaly in our life time we would seen the end of printed books because affordable acess on the internet and software dealing withm ost anything to anyone liking. i have seen but was unable to afford at the time a great cd-rom catolaue set up of great commentaries, versions reputable bible translations the genea, the king james rsv nasb, goodspeed, moffat, beck and the catholic pirest knox, exegetical works of the great theologins,augustine,wycliff, luther, calvin, zwingli, wesley, hus. unfortanely prostestans has too long ingorned and snubbed great catho.lic theologins, francis, julian of norwhich, catherine of siena, the beguines, ignastius of loyola, aquinas, eckhart and many others. however the cd did a good comparison of spurious attempts at ungoldy convolutions of theolog ies and translations by the likes such as darby, scofield and drake. i think some such as Kenneth Scott Latourette or schaff are great.

    would an intergrated, interrelatioanl, ecumenical oriented book work if written? i would love to resreach and write such a book. i work on two volumes of the completed biblical library printed by the publishing arm of the assemblies god denomation called the gosple publishing house with a company called world library press. love to discuss this in detail with you, sir.

    thanks micheal for sharing your time and place in space so now the ‘space time continuim has a little box! how infinately, eternal is that, not!

  • http://www.saintxris.org chris

    I disagree. There are thousands of different kinds of books, and digital technology has absences that analog possesses. Human beings do not live simply for “efficiency”, we live for beauty and warmth as well. The touch of paper, the tactile warmth of pages and pictures, the smell and depth of the printed page will always possess a quality that digital does not have. Slickness gets tiring, and that is what digital offers. But the wabi-sabi of a well designed book mirrors our humanity in a way that a screen never can.

    Ask musicians: analog equipment still has a warmth that no digital piece can match. The great guitarists of our day still use tubed amps. That is just one example.

    I’ll always buy books. You can have your digitized perfection.

    Merry Christmas,
    Chris Zodrow

  • http://www.saintxris.org/ chris

    I disagree. There are thousands of different kinds of books, and digital technology has absences that analog possesses. Human beings do not live simply for "efficiency", we live for beauty and warmth as well. The touch of paper, the tactile warmth of pages and pictures, the smell and depth of the printed page will always possess a quality that digital does not have. Slickness gets tiring, and that is what digital offers. But the wabi-sabi of a well designed book mirrors our humanity in a way that a screen never can.

    Ask musicians: analog equipment still has a warmth that no digital piece can match. The great guitarists of our day still use tubed amps. That is just one example.

    I'll always buy books. You can have your digitized perfection.

    Merry Christmas,
    Chris Zodrow

  • michael jacobs

    Sorry, I don't have a kindle. I may get one, but I don't think I'll be bringing it to the beach anytime soon. As for my i-phone, maybe the American consumer will follow the japanese trend of translating novels to texting language. I doubt it. It's very difficult to read.

  • michael jacobs

    Sorry, I don't have a kindle. I may get one, but I don't think I'll be bringing it to the beach anytime soon. As for my i-phone, maybe the American consumer will follow the japanese trend of translating novels to texting language. I doubt it. It's very difficult to read.

  • Jess MacCallum

    OK, so here's a late (read "current") post: The e-book will take the same amount of time to transcend the printed book as the telephone did the telegraph… about a century. Remember how the government had to give away MILLIONS to buy converter boxes for TVs that weren't digital? Can you believe there were so many left? Books have a far more deeply held affection than old TVs. They are ubiquitous and warm. The e-book will do well for medical references, journals, references books, etc. But the book is more than the media as has been suggested. Of course content is king, but people are not so digital as everyone assumes (hence the TV converters). Even my kids, Gen-Y, love Barnes & Noble for the experience and the BOOKS! BTW, lastly the "tree killing" argument is no more valid than banning Corn Flakes with an environmental movement. It's a CROP people! Georgia Pacific isn't attacking virgin forest like some kind of industrial behemoth. They plant and the harvest. Why would the imagined affection for trees trump the real affection for books?

  • Jess MacCallum

    OK, so here's a late (read "current") post: The e-book will take the same amount of time to transcend the printed book as the telephone did the telegraph… about a century. Remember how the government had to give away MILLIONS to buy converter boxes for TVs that weren't digital? Can you believe there were so many left? Books have a far more deeply held affection than old TVs. They are ubiquitous and warm. The e-book will do well for medical references, journals, references books, etc. But the book is more than the media as has been suggested. Of course content is king, but people are not so digital as everyone assumes (hence the TV converters). Even my kids, Gen-Y, love Barnes & Noble for the experience and the BOOKS! BTW, lastly the "tree killing" argument is no more valid than banning Corn Flakes with an environmental movement. It's a CROP people! Georgia Pacific isn't attacking virgin forest like some kind of industrial behemoth. They plant and the harvest. Why would the imagined affection for trees trump the real affection for books?

  • bob

    Book paper comes from trees grown as a crop. The electronic alternative contains glass, plastics, chemicals and varied metals.
    Today we make more paper out of old books. Q: What can be make today from old e book readers? A: A mess.

    It will take some slight of hand and big money to make paper books an environmental evil worse than electronic waste of the present alternatives.

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  • spaderose

    I get ur logic but I find it impractical, electronic devices cause problems books dont and sometimes when you buy a book you can get a special something with it at the bookstore. We have machines to make orange juice but it doesnt me we stop sqeezing them to make orange juice

  • Sumner

    Information stored on paper is a waste in all areas

  • Jusmcc

    Reading on iBooks is just not the same as reading print books they will never die even if I have to set up a business to make it live!

    – 14 year old from Indianapolis, Indiana