The Future of The Book

Perhaps I am dangerously optimistic, but I believe we are entering the book publishing industry at a very dynamic and historically significant time. The book is not dying and will never die. The changes that the digital age is bringing to book publishing is very possibly a blessing disguised as a threat. Yes, I think traditional print book publishing will shrink for a while but it does not scare me. Yes, I believe large companies will continue to merge and dominate the market for at least the next decade. Yes, I believe retail giants will continue to threaten the prosperity of independent booksellers. But I don’t believe these things will last forever or even for our lifetimes. People crave creativity. People need diversity to thrive and will seek it even under the worse of circumstances. Ultimately, it is the consumer who dictates the markets.

I believe that the ebook revolution has the potential of throwing the world into a period of enlightenment. I hope for and foresee increased literacy rates, wide spread and cheap access to information, and the honorable application of knowledge. The world is shrinking and it is because of advancements in communications. Literature is, and always has been, the most sacred form of communication. The fact that a teacher in Minnesota can publish a book that can be printed in Canada, read online by a mother in Hong Kong, and then translated for a student in Buenos Aires in a matter of hours is a phenomenon. It is also a phenomenon that will become increasingly prevalent as technology continues to advance. These are the types of miraculous trends I hope to see more of in the future of book publishing, trends that are only just now beginning to appear on most people’s radar. Self-publishing will explode. Equal access to information will prevail. Education will become less restricted. International borders will blur. Life will be good.

Or, my optimism is completely rooted in my personal philosophies regarding the unhindered access to and honorable application of knowledge, and I’m actually blind to the truth. Perhaps, in reality, the book publishing industry is doomed to crumple under economic pressures and quietly place creativity in a warehouse in a desert somewhere. Maybe independent booksellers and used bookstores will fade entirely into the past. Book publishers will wither and congregate under the single title “Not Amazon,” and Amazon itself will morph into an evil empire complete with drones. Textbooks will be issued through government sanctioned computer mainframes. Advertisements and videos will be embedded into the classics. Digital rights management will put traceable leashes on all literature and books will cease to be possessions. Your ability to read will be dictated by a “Terms of Agreement” contract. Your library will be repossessed if you break the rules and life will suck.

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My Generation

The more I read about Generation Y, or as some call us, the Millennial Generation, the more I discover that we are regularly being defined by what we aren’t. We are not business savvy. We do not and have never struggled. We cannot advocate for ourselves unless there is an app for advocating. We are not organized, professional, or punctual. We certainly don’t give a rat’s ass about anything outside ourselves.  Essentially, we are nothing like the generations before us. We can’t cook. We can’t dress appropriately. We can’t buy anything without a co-signer unless it is the latest fashion or I-doodad. We can’t manage a house let alone a business. We can’t initiate social change. We can’t invest and we certainly can’t save. We are a generation defined by inability and exclusion. As a member of this generation I’d like to take a moment to define myself by explaining what I’m not.

I do not depend on my family or friends for financial support. I do not wear my pants below my waist. I have never hooted, hollered or whistled at a woman from a vehicle. I am not lazy. I do not wear T-shirts with cartoon characters on them. I do not care about the latest fashion trends and I certainly do not define friendship through the use of a button. I can not fix your computer. I am not unemployed and I haven’t been since I was fourteen years old. I don’t wear my baseball cap backwards nor do I leave the sticker on the flat bill. I do not break the law, nor have I ever received so much as a speeding ticket. I don’t text and drive because I am not that coordinated and because it is dangerous. I never bypass a person in need and I never post my needs online looking for sympathy. I have never sent my food back in a restaurant. I have never waited in line for a sale or the release of a new product. I do not expect the world to hand me a career or a comfortable life. I am not a racist or a bigot, and I do not hold any prejudices against any group of people. I am not a liar or a coward. I am not a scapegoat for the failings of previous generations. I am not disillusioned about the adversity my generation will face in the years to come. I am not misinformed or under-educated. I am not a product of any other time period and I am incapable of being such.

Worst case scenario insomniac

Eerie are the tendencies of a sleepless mind. I cannot focus beyond the length of my eyelashes but somehow I understand the placement of everything in my apartment. Every shadow tells a story about what I did earlier today. I seem regretfully decisive about my inability to sleep. Like, yeah, not going to happen tonight, so why bother. I roll over for the umpteenth time. Different shadows and more stories. Today was boring and routine. The predictability of today makes me crave chaos. I so often imagine tragedy while I lie pretending to sleep. I have imagined home invaders, meteors and earthquakes; flash floods, tornadoes and zombies; lightning strikes, volcano eruptions and structure fires. Played them all out in my mind. He would enter quietly unsure of the shadows I’ve studied every night for weeks. I would catch him off guard but never fast enough. They always get a shot off, I’m always injured but only enough to add to my heroism and my escape. I never die in these scenarios. But I’m always maimed, or forced to leave someone behind, hurt deeply so as to suffer but not perish. I jump out windows and hide in door frames, crawl into closets and turn household objects into weapons or tools. I stand in the street and stare at my possessions being destroyed along with the building. I never gasp or cry. I’m always ready somehow as if my inability to sleep has been preparing me for disaster. I’m almost expecting. Jumping before the lightning hits. Passing through a solid door frame the second the earthquake starts, already wearing my boots. This morning I woke up with a hammer in my hand. I don’t even know where I keep my toolbox.