Thursday, August 21, 2008
BoSacks Speaks Out: Finally Some Uplifting News From BoSacks?
I received a letter from a reader who said that some of his friends have stopped reading BoSacks because of all the bad news. I wasn't shocked at the note, but I admit that I was a little disappointed. I thought that my position was clear. I wrote back that I did not think that the industry is in death mode, nor has that ever been the intent of my coverage. And I also wrote that I try my damnedest to find positive and uplifting news.
Indeed I am very upbeat about our industry, and I see a bright future for the industry and the people in it. But there are a few things that have to be stated. The industry is never going to be the way it was; it is not even going to be the way it is. But I think the stories I send out give our readers a chance to see how the future may bend, blend and re-form, and hopefully offer a place of steady employment, if you are smart enough to read between the lines.
The industry is radically changing. So what? Why do you find that so depressing? I do not. Change is an elixir, and should be treated that way. The possibilities of information distribution in the next few years will be nothing less than staggering. Quite possibly we could be heading into the great, golden years of publishing. Is that a downer? Not in my book. There is more reading material available now, to more people than ever before in the combined history of man.
There are no age qualifiers on my web site when you sign up, so I'll ask this question: What were you doing five years ago? If you were in the business, what were you doing ten years ago? Are you doing the same thing now that you were doing then? I doubt it. What do you think you will be doing ten years from now? Do you think it is possible your job description and responsibilities might change? What might they be?
Our technology is growing exponentially. What used to take ten technologic years to advance now takes five, perhaps even less. My advice is to be very prepared to face the future with full frontal aggressiveness and make it your friend, not your combative enemy. If technology and the future are not your friends, you are fighting a battle you can not possibly win. As I have said before, the future is here now; it is just not widely distributed yet.
There are two options -- we can stick our heads in the ground in denial and hope that the industry problems will somehow go away and we will be able to continue to do what we have been doing, or we can do our very best to stay informed about the industry as it changes and grow with it. The choice is ours. Information is our power. That is why I am bullish about the publishing industry. We own the content. I do not care how we distribute that content. Some of it will always be on paper and some will be distributed electronically. So what? Once writers needed quill pens to write. Many years later came fountain pens, and then typewriters. Now we have computers. Are my words typed on a laptop and distributed by electrons, any less important because of this method of delivery? The reading of the written word is what is most important, not the pathway to receiving them. The truth is those words are more important when they are as fresh as possible and only a few electronic minutes old.
The bottom line for us all is to try to stay employed as long as we wish to work. The only way to that end is to work hard and be as informed as is possible.
Oh, yes, and I might mention that I do try my hardest to find articles that are positive and uplifting about our industry. They do exist from time to time; it's just that they are very few and far between. When I find them, I send them. I also think most negative articles are not fully understood by the authors and are written with a very narrow perspective. But what I do send out is important to anyone in the industry. That is my criteria and the only reason I send anything out. I think it is important to know. Remember, this industry's future is your future. The world of publishing is not going to evaporate. I think it will grow and prosper, in fact, I guarantee it.
Well, there you go. Am I wrong? What do you think?