Yet Another Post-Scarcity Shakeup

As an aspiring writer, I tend to keep an ear open for interesting tidbits from the world of literature.  Primarily I do this through a couple of excellent CBC programs, The Next Chapter and Writers & Co., but recently I heard something on a very different platform, the "tech, trends and fresh ideas" program Spark.

This is as visually exciting as radio gets.

On the most recent episode of Spark, host Nora Young interviewed Seth Godin, primarily an author but, for reasons of our interest, the spokesman for The Domino Project.  The Domino Project is one of those things that seems terribly obvious in hindsight, an attempt to leverage the direct connection possibilities afforded by the internet to link authors and readers directly, cutting out agents, publishers and even bookstores (the Project is affiliated with Amazon).  The model reminds me of what Cheeseburger Brown did with his Simon of Space, a novel published serially on Blogger which was then released on Lulu, and attracted enough attention to get picked up by a publisher and released to bookstores.  Although I suppose The Domino Project would view that last step as being unnecessary, and possibly even counter-productive given their underlying philosophy.  And for those who haven't seen it, for the record, I heartily recommend Simon of Space.  It's delightful.

Really, I'm surprised it's taken this long for a new system of publication to start taking shape.  The internet essentially put distributors and producers on notice with Napster, way back in 1999, and yet Seth Godin relates an exchange with a record industry big-wig who seems completely confident that cds are going to make a comeback, any second now.  I'm not saying cds, or even records, have no future at all, but to expect a model based on scarcity to be able to compete in a post-scarcity environment is just silly.  And with ebooks finally getting all the kinds ironed out, and major players like Amazon, Samsung, Apple, Sony and even PocketBooks really putting their money where their mouths are, there's no reason to assume that books aren't about to enter the exact same sort of post-scarcity environment.  Which means it's adapt-or-die time for books, just as it was for music and film/television.

Oh, and for those who aren't already, I highly recommend listening to Spark.  It's always got something interesting to say.

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