Lots of reports coming out of the Tools of Change Conference which finished up yesterday. Writer Margaret Atwood presented this year, offering a different, more nuanced perspective than the relentless and ubiquitous "Technology is full of awesome!"
Atwood talked about the importance of book creators, and wondered aloud, “From the point of view of an author, if the future of the Internet is free, who is going to pay for the cheese sandwiches on which authors are known to subsist?“ You'll find more about Atwood's presentation here.
(Photo courtesy PDPphoto.org)
Ron Hogan, the founder of the litblog Beatrice, seems to agree with a lot of what Atwood had to say. He wrote up his thoughts on the TOC Conference at Shelf Awareness. His write-up includes this incredible bit:
"On Wednesday morning, Kevin Kelly of Wired blithely said, "I can't really figure out what books should be more expensive than a song, and I don't think consumers will believe that, either." Thus he predicted the price of e-books could fall as low as 99 cents, as easy technological reproducibility strips away the value of a work of art, forcing creators to turn to "that which cannot be copied," such as immediacy, authentication, personalization and embodiment. One of the slides he used to illustrate this new economic model? A live music performance."
In other words, it's okay or at least inevitable that books will be stripped of all their value. We book artists make up for any lost income by entertaining folks with our authentic and immediate repartee, opening kissing booths, and playing the interpretive flute.
It seems that not everyone was advocating that book creators turn into pageant contestants (thank goodness). Some emphasized "Transmedia storytelling." That is, creating stories that could be translated from books into websites, apps and other forms (something that many of us at eisforbook are already trying to do.)
According to a piece in Publisher's Weekly, Jeff Gomez, president and CEO of Starlight Runner said, “books get respect; they’re the crazy grandpa that Hollywood executives keep in the basement. Hollywood was born out of books.” And game designer Flint Dille "emphasized that while authors and publishers should focus on creating solid stories for books, they should also realize that every idea is essentially media agnostic."
Frankly, trying to develop stories across different media sounds like a better idea than flute lessons. Though I have to admit I'd pay to see Neil Gaiman try something like this:
-- Laura Ruby