Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What Comes Next? UPDATED with winners!

I composed this blog post originally by hand. That's right, old-fashioned, pen in hand, blue ink on lined paper low-tech writing.

You see, my work computer went wonky a couple of days before I wrote this post, and while I was waiting for it to return from the computer doctor, I was left with little I could do at work. Since working a full-time day job, in addition to my writing career, means I have to write during my lunch hour as well as weekends and evenings just to keep up, I couldn't afford that much down time.

So I kicked it old school. Me, my blue-ink Bic pen and my yellow lined legal pad, writing a blog post 70's style.

Of course, there weren't blogs in the '70s. Computers were still in the early stages and out of reach for the average consumer. When I stared working years ago as an advertising copywriter, my writing tool was an electric typewriter. Do people even use those anymore?

My first computer at work was a DOS dinosaur. Windows? What was that? It would be a couple more years before our boss stepped into the future and upraded us to the Windows 3.0 system. Whoo, we were high tech then!

Now I use a laptop, running Vista and dreaming of Windows 7. Others of you run Macs and make fun of the rest of us. The world changes faster than we can keep up, sometimes. Most of us readers and writers are now wondering what e-books will do to the bookstores we love and the good old ink and paper books we put out these days.

But if I've learned anything over the years, it's that the more things change, the more they stay the same. People have been telling stories for centuries. They'll still be telling them centuries from now if the asteroids haven't wiped us all out by then. All that will change is the medium.

Although, I must admit to wondering just where we'll go next. What comes after e-books? Chips implanted in our brains that allow us to experience a story playing out in our brains? Or will we decide technology is too much with us and we make a collective decision that the old way of reading—ink on paper—was the best way after all?

What do you think comes next for books? Give me your answer in the comments, and I'll draw for four winners who'll either win a signed copy of any Cooper Justice book of their choices or a $10 eGiftcard from the online bookseller of their choices.
The winners are Anne Gallagher, Liz, MV Freeman and JoAnn! Please email me at paulagraves (at) charter (dot) net with your preference--book or eGiftcard. If you want a book, tell me which one and I'll need your snail mail address. If it's the giftcard, I just need your email address and which ebookstore you prefer.
Thanks for commenting!


Anne Gallagher said...

Chips implanted in our brains that allow us to experience a story playing out in our brains?

I think, as writers we'll all get these new kind of virtual writing pads and as we type, an image will pop up on the screen and we will be able to manipulate them like in a movie and instead of writing a story, it'll be more like writing a movie. We won't be reading anymore, we'll be watching.

Liz said...

Books aren't going to die out because of e-readers anymore than they were killed off by newspapers or books on tape. The book still represents a highly efficient technology, cheap and economical to produce and long-lasting, while e-books require power every time they are read and are only portable with the use of expensive, one-purpose devices. Prices on e-readers will no doubt continue to decline, but their other shortcomings will remain.

Linda Henderson said...

I think the next think will be a way of making print books without cutting down trees to do it. Synthetic paper books, I'm all for that. I'm sure I'll be forced to buy an e-reader, if I can ever afford it, but I love my print books. So if someone can come up with a way to make fake paper cheap enough to publish books, that would be great.

Kat Jones said...

I love writing by hand!!! But I can't write as fast as I can type. Writing with a pen & paper is definitely a lost art with computers, phones, etc.

As for the future of books, call me old school but there's nothing like browsing, buying, and reading a paper book. While I enjoy reading e-books, I hope the paper version is never fully replaced.

I like your chip idea; it would make for a fun book to write! :)

Callie James said...

This industry moves too fast for me to even take a guess. But I read this very intersting article today about it by Richard Curtis on Galleycat:


M.V.Freeman said...

I truly think books will always be in, but you will see a lot more IPADs.(which I am not a huge fan of), I like the Nook/Kindle.

I still crave the printed page. Even if its online. But I think that there will be more options to stories and what is going to be published. The hard part will be wading through it all.

I admit, I'm not the best when it comes to those type of ideas. I find the best pictures are in my head....

Paula said...

I'm pretty old school, too. I don't even own an eReader. I do have some e-books in .pdf format, but I read them, when I read them, on my computer using Adobe Digital Editions.

I sometimes think I'd be able to read more with something like a Kindle--it's so portable and you can store a ton of books on it--but I haven't talked myself into getting one yet.

JoAnn said...

Paula, I so remember writing on an electric typewriter! And cutting and pasting -- LITERALLY! -- paragraphs and sentences (although I think I actually used tape instead of paste). And then retyping. And THEN doing it all over again!

I have not even stuck a toe in the e-book waters, but I do think they will become the preferred reading format in the future.

LindaC said...

I don't have an ereader either, simply because I have a large tbr shelf and I can't seem to stop buying print books. How do you make the transition. I know that an ereader would be lighter and more portable for trips, but I still like the feel of a book in my hand.


Carla Swafford said...

Not hard to guess, but E-Readers will be (and are) the thing to own. Once they'll become cheaper and cheaper, more people will change over to them.

It wasn't until books were mass produced (late 19th and especially 20th century) before the middle and lower classes could afford them.

Since most people can't afford the e-readers, paper will stick around for a while longer. I love reading and any format is okay with me.

I want an iPad. Maybe I can buy one this year, if the economy improves.

Lisa D. said...

I know this is late, but wanted to add my two cents. The ereaders won't kill books any more than paperbacks did. When they first started publishing Literature (as opposed to trash) in paperback in the 1950s, lots of critics thought that it was the end of Culture. Back then books were only books if they were objects that were valuable to own in their own right--leather covers, fine papers. Things that only the rich could afford. It wasn't the end of culture OR the book. Americans just changed in what they defined as a book. In fact, paperbacks allowed universities to incorporate more of the books we now think of as Classics. Without paperbacks, books like The Great Gatsby would have been out of print and dead years and years ago. I think that e-readers are the same kind of thing. It's not going to be the end of books. Rather, what is going to become even more important are the texts. The actual writing, because that's what you're dealing with in an e-reader. And when you think of all the free "classic" books (all of Henry James is free on Kindle, for example), it has the possibility of revitalizing reading.