Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Candles vs. Electric Lights

In his March 19th post, Joe Konrath interviews Barry Eisler who tells why he turned down a $500,000 2-book deal to self-pub. I loved this:

Joe: We’ve discussed this before. Paper won’t disappear, but that’s not the point. The point is, paper will become a niche while digital will become the norm.

Barry: Agreed. Lots of people, and I’m one of them, love the way a book feels. I used to like the way books smelled, too, before publishers started using cheap paper. And you can see books on your shelf, etc... those are real advantages, but they’re only niche advantages. Think candles vs electric lights. There are still people making a living today selling candles, and that’s because there’s nothing like candlelight--but what matters is that the advent of the electric light changed the candle business into a niche. Originally, candlemakers were in the lighting business; today, they’re in the candlelight business. The latter is tiny by comparison to the former. Similarly, today publishers are in the book business; tomorrow, they’ll be in the paper book business. The difference is the difference between a mass market and a niche.

CR: Absinthe of Malice, by Pat Browning, the 'electric light' way—on my Kindle. However, I have a candle lit on my desk right now.

It's all better with friends.

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