You know what the future of publishing is? The book. The motherfucking book. With pages and words and shit. And no, I don’t mean the e-book. I mean the kind of book that you can use to pound a nail, hit a bear, break a window. The physical object.
The book is never going away.
The book is an icon. The book is a treasured object. It is equal parts totem, fetish, decoration, and hand-me-down. It is a container of permanent wisdom and knowledge (or, in the case of some books, a container of permanent bullshit, but hey, that can be just as awesome).
I said it before and I’ll say it again: the fact that anybody still wants to burn a book shows you how powerful the physical object is, both as itself and as a symbol.
Books are magic. Books are love. Books are infinity times two.
I’m not saying the audiences won’t shrink. I’m not suggesting that publishing won’t be changing its models. I’m not saying that publishing books will remain the most stable industry.
But the book, she ain’t going nowhere. Because the book is a thing. I don’t mean “thing as physical object,” I mean, “thing as thing, as cultural bulwark, as obelisk and idol.”
I was introduced to author Chuck Wendig by my brother who has written some guest posts for his blog. Remarkably insightful and delightfully profane, Mr. Wendig rarely disappoints in his posts about life as a writer, the writing process, and the rollercoaster that is the life of a freelancer. In taking on the current constant hand wringing regarding the future of the book and the e-book, he serves a fresh reminder as to the place of the book in regards to culture and society, both as a physical object and as a container for the contents within. It’s probably one of the best takes I’ve read on the future of books and not just because I was giggling through most of it.
If your work filters can tolerate it, go and read the whole thing right now. Bask in the unholy glory of one author’s take on the future of publishing.