future of publishing? -- not really 04.01.2010, 4:12 PM
posted by bob stein
People keep sending me links to this Dorling Kindersley video expecting I'll love it. Actually, although i find it cute in its construction, i think it's fundamentally inaccurate in both directions. Young people are not as vacuous as portrayed in the "forward" direction. "Reverse" is even worse, as it suggests that no real cultural change is underway. Frankly i see this video as a dream piece constructed to reassure middle-aged intellectuals that the seismic shifts which are upending life as we know it are not really happening.
Posted by bob stein on April 1, 2010 4:12 PM
Christian Wach on April 1, 2010 6:00 PM:
Agree with you Bob. The content of the piece seems at best vapid and at worst patronising in the way that only corporates who (unlike Voyager, I hasten to add!) claim authorship for themselves can achieve. Even the form itself is a blatant ripoff of the wildly popular Lost Generation:
which is itself based on:
Graham Storrs on April 1, 2010 6:03 PM:
Hear, hear! I saw this a while ago and had exactly the same reaction.
I believe it is a modification of earlier versions created for domains other than publishing. So it's possible the people who put it out weren't as interested in the message as in the cute presentation.
Interestingly, from the comments of some who have been circulating it, it really is giving succour to people feeling threatened by what is going on in publishing.
Dean C. Rowan on April 1, 2010 7:00 PM:
How is this even measurable in terms of accuracy? Why should accuracy be a criterion of its value? I agree that it's "cute"--a fair and charitable enough take on its aesthetic strengths--although the idea has been executed before in other contexts, so even the cuteness is slight.
Real cultural change is inevitable, so much so that the fact needn't even be suggested. But this doesn't mean that our lives are being figuratively upended. That rhetoric is exactly the sort of marketing banality that DK is trying to purvey in the video.
Gary Frost on April 1, 2010 10:35 PM:
How well has print book production absorbed the digital technologies? How well has the screen book assimilated refinements of print? How do costs of delivery, device display and data storage differ between print and screen? Why is the physical book so easily authenticated and the screen book so easily parsed and indexed? Is self-authentication and self-indexing a composite of the book? Why is screen discourse so connected and mutable and print so fixed and constrained? Why exactly does a screen researcher decide to print and why exactly does print research begin on the screen? Do such counter attributes of print and screen, taken together, suggest an inherent logic of interdependence? What if the market for print and screen books adapt to each other and both improve functionality and both grow sales?
Edward Visel on April 4, 2010 7:16 PM:
I'm with you – as a member of the younger generation, I'm not much of a fan of either direction. The Ludditism arises from the binary presentation.
Mostly, though, the whole thing just seems cruelly ironic that it only exists through YouTube.
Kim W. on June 26, 2010 11:42 PM:
I agree with your assessment, Bob. The publishing industry is struggling to evolve and many people in the industry are stuck in denial, unable to believe that the business they love is fundamentally changing and might, quite possibly, be dying. Ads like this are sad, to me, because they reveal how deep the refusal to accept and embrace change runs.
Alison C on August 23, 2010 6:51 AM:
I like it. It's message is clear and it's cleverly presented. I do not, however, understand many of the comments that follow it which seem to go round and round and then disappear into a rabbit hole!! I'm confused: there's a revolution going on and publishing is taking its last breath or there's a revolution going on and the prospects for the future of publishing have never looked brighter or more exciting! Which is it? I personally am going right along with the second option.