Sunday, December 23, 2007

Print is Dead: Books in Our Digital Age � That Was Then, This is Now: What a difference a decade makes

Early Sunday morning, cup of coffee in hand, comfy chair at the table (table my wonderful husband Dennis made -- it only took him 4 years, but it was worth the wait), and I see this story in the Google Desktop sidebar: Print is Dead: Books in Our Digital Age � That Was Then, This is Now: What a difference a decade makes. Click. I'm there. And this story pretty much captures in a few short paragraphs something that's at the heart of what I'm thinking of writing about next -- university press/library mergers that have the potential to explore the changes in the publishing industry that Print is Dead author, Jeff Gomez, claims the Internet has irrevocably launched. As I read his post, I'm just so amazed at the potential, the excitement, the path leading off into who knows where. On the other hand, it really concerns me that the commercial publishing industry appears to actively resist this unbelievably exciting future. Makes you just want to cry.

I am so hoping that the university presses and the libraries will have it more together to experiment. Where is the sense of wonder at the possibilities, the courage to take the leap? Does a press have to die and be reborn, like Rice University's Press? Geez, I hope that is not the only way. So, anyway, I've got three locales I'm considering for in-depth study: UC (press/Cal. Dig. Lib.); Michigan (Schol. Pub. Off./press); and N. Carolina. Got to find money to travel and lodge, eat, etc. And I have to hope that there really is a story there. Lisa (UT Press) came back from a week in Michigan so jazzed about what they were doing there that it will take a lot to persuade me that nothing much is going on, so I am optimistic. Lots of work to do to even get started though, and here it is, 2 days before Christmas. I am already well into spring in my thinking. And this was the time I was going to slow down a bit, recover from the steam roller that was the first semester in the Ph.D. program. Not gonna happen...

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