Here are a couple of what the author of the article, Kevin Roderick, called “tidbits” from a keynote address by Steve Wasserman, former Los Angeles Times book editor, now agent and book editor at Truthdig.
Wasserman quoted Randall Stross of the New York Times, who asked:
With the new devices in hand, will book buyers avert their eyes from the free copies only a few clicks away that have been uploaded without copyright holder’s permission? Mindful of what happened to the music industry at a similar transitional juncture, book publishers are about to discover whether their industry is different enough to spared a similar fate....”Wasserman added this:
In the United States, bricks-and-mortar bookstores continue to disappear at a rate rivaled only by the relentless destruction of the Amazonian rain forest. Twenty years ago, there were about 4,000 independent bookstores. Today, only about 1,500 remain. Even the two largest U.S. chain bookstores—themselves partly responsible for putting smaller stores to the sword—are in a precarious state…Click over to read what Wasserman sees as the three overlapping and contending crises facing the publishing industry. According to the article, Wasserman said: “[Readers] know in their bones something we forget at our peril: that without books—indeed, without literacy—the good society vanishes and barbarism triumphs.”
I think Wasserman is right in that statement. Without the ability to read and comprehend, society is in trouble. I would add that people also need a choice in what they read and the ability and freedom to discern truth from propaganda and hot air.
What do you think?