Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The novel is not novel

Bloggers in bathrobes beware. The journalists are taking writing back.

I read the Seattle Post Intelligencer today. Online. That’s the only way you can find it. The P.I. printed its last paper paper yesterday.

A few weeks ago, The Rocky Mountain news printed its final paper paper after 150 some odd years, and just this week a group of former journalists from this daily decided to revive “The Rocky” …online.

I think this is great. I stopped reading the paper paper long ago.

Going paperless is obvious. The environment. The social sharing/emailing, “Hey y’all check this out” aspect. The business perspective is streamlined. No paper costs, no circulation sales staff, no distribution costs. With some electricity and good writing all the functions of publishing-- editing, printing, distribution, and consumption all take place online.

This idea is certainly not novel: Kindle, Kindle 2, Sony Reader, Adobe Acrobat, PDF, Plastic Logic, and and and. Check it out at the NYTimes

So paper or plastic?

I think in the not too distant future, we will look back at hardcopies (newsprint, magazines, and books) and think it’s kind of neat. Like 8-tracks or cassette tapes or even CD’s. This change is not a bad thing. The printed word has not been around for ever, either. Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones, arguably the first novel ever (hence the name) was published in 1749. 250 years ago. Gutenberg’s Bible was printed only 250 years before that.

I can imagine a Nancy Drew type story in the future where Nancy uncovers an old house from the 2000’s and they have a library (physical library). Neato! You might even hear Nancy shriek, “Look. This is a printed book. It’s not searchable!”

I know writers out there probably feel differently, but do we want the book (magazine, newspaper) or do we want the story?

I look forward to the print free world. And you?

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