My Rite to Read

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Technology is electricity, and writers are not entrepreneurs

Technology always existed, in the way, opinions always did. Talking of digital conventions replacing the old, is like saying there is more electricity in the house. Technology cannot work in isolation of Media, and good (profitable) publishing is becoming increasingly data driven, than we care to know. 

As ebooks compete for recognition and visibility, worldwide, they have gained traction with users in huge numbers. I am very ready to give up the physical book completely (I remember trudging long distances as a schoolgirl in sweltering summers burdened by at least five kilograms of weight of my bookbag everyday) , as long as the culture and values of books continue. The convenience and ease of the internet, and its hardly social nature, is what tempts me as a reader. The omniscience of the book, in a digital world is here to stay. No more recycling paper, but washing eyeballs. Hail oculist. 

Writers are not risk takers, but helpless creatures born out of desperation. An urgency, that has clearly nothing to do with risk but survival. Writers write, regularly, with nothing at stake but their own poor selves. They could hardly be called entrepreneurial for breathing. Significant people have tried putting this across to me at varying junctures with varying degrees of politeness/kindness and sympathy. 

The most exciting news this Valentines Day was of Bloomsbury's entry into India, following Simon & Schuster, Lonely Planet, agent Aitken Alexander and the Hay festival. Bloomsbury India will first be looking at taking on marketing and sales people and editors will follow in due course. The new MD for Bloomsbury will be Rajiv Bedi, who is also ex MD of Pan Macmillan India. In such a climate, it would indeed be worth exploring what UK publishers are doing to maximize their profits by entering global markets. It could be the topic for my Masters dissertation, at least.