I'm guilty of it myself. It sure looks like it, most days. Publishers act like such easy fucking MARKS. I want to believe they are sharp and canny and have their shit together, but I just don't see the evidence, most days.
If publishing companies are smart, patient, and show some spine, the only thing that ebooks and ebook readers are going to destroy are third-party distributors and colossal, awful bookstores. If publishing can stonewall just ONE MORE YEAR, reinvent themselves, and not give away all the rights to their products, if they can instead sit down and think about what publishing does and the way people read, they will be able to slip out of Amazon's mouth, out of Google's bear trap, and out of Apple and Sony's crushing, spike-walled death room.
Last year, a group of angry technologists who were mad that there was no such thing as a cheap tablet PC decided to wrangle their resources and build one themselves.
No one thought they would succeed, but they did, and they even exceeded their own expectations.
Keep in mind that this open-source device will cost $300, which is cheaper than almost every ereader available:
It's true that this a fairly limited device. The technologists who built it were angry and dogmatic, and so it doesn't have simple things, like -- you know -- a file management system. I don't even think you can watch movies on this from a flash drive. With a roll-out USB keyboard, you will be able to use it to blog and surf the internet, and that's about it. You will also theoretically be able to use it as an ereader, but it will only be mediocre. If they had added on a few other simple items, this would be an amazing piece of machinery. You could probably slap two of them together with a hinge and make a Protean Codex, but for now the CrunchPad will have to do as an object lesson. As it stands, it is mainly a shot across the port bow.
Trust me, Apple is developing a much more impressive tablet that will look a hell of a lot like this but will be functional too. And the netbooks are on their way.
But here's where you are going to start seeing items like the CrunchPad: planes, trains, automobiles, taxi cabs, coffee shop tables, bars, schools, colleges, nursing homes, and offices. You will be able to buy a used CrunchPad for fifty bucks in Union Square and turn it into your kitchen internet machine. CrunchPads will be what kids actually receive for Christmas instead of Kindles.
So the question remains: why are publishers making ebooks for proprietary ebook devices instead of learning to code persistent online web editions of books (WHAT GOOGLE IS DOING) and creating huge, beautiful databases of literature that let publishers fully profit from and control their products? Why are publishers forcing the next generation of writers into the arms of Amazon's self-publishing scams and Google's crass information-Babel?
Publishing! Let the CrunchPad be your touchstone! If you aren't making books that people can read on the CrunchPad and that take advantage of all the features that the CrunchPad offers, you are going to die. People are going to pirate you to oblivion, and the only people who will still be standing after the crash will be Google, Apple, and Amazon. Rich people over 40 will be reading Amazon books on Amazon machines, rich people 30 - 40 will be reading Amazon books on Apple machines, and everyone else will be reading Google books on netbooks and tablets. Then it will only be Google and Apple left, and then finally, only Google.
Publishing! (slap) Wake up! (slap) Publishing! (slap) Come on! (slap) Please! (slap) Let's make some books! (slap) I want to get paid! (slap)
Posted by miracle on Tue, 09 Jun 2009 04:27:54 -0400 -- permanent link