And a week from today I leave for London myself for a month, first time I've been back in a while. Very psyched to be there, and almost as psyched to run away from the Maine winter. I used to disdain Mainers who headed South come January, but I'm not a Mainer and London isn't South. I'm also planning on going back to Reykjavik for a few days to do research for Available Dark (a sort of sequel to Generation Loss), which should be interesting. When I was there late in 2007 the place was hopping, with two SUVs for every boy (and girl). Not anymore. I always seem to travel in the fog belt: when I head west, it's usually to Seattle; in Europe it's the UK, Finland, Iceland, Germany. For some reason I rarely venture below the Mason-Dixon Line or south of Leipzeig. Is this some deeply-ingrained masochistic tendency? The Catholic guilt/punishment ethos working itself through geography?
Anyway, I'm happy to be going to London.
More articles on the death or birth of publishing, depending on your p.o.v.. From the Times, a piece on trailers and other digital excitements to lure readers to new books:
I'm too last-century: Id rather read the reviews or the book itself, though Kathe Koja had a fabulous trailer last year. Plus, where do these authors get the money to produce this stuff? I think a novel trailer would be wicked cool, but I doubt it would make me a bestseller.
Next, from Time Magazine, more on the Incredible Shrinking Book Industry.
I have no doubt the nature of fiction and the reading experience is changing, and same of the changes are probably good. My question remains: how is anyone going to make any money from this publishing model? Can we charge people to watch trailers for our books?
Finally, what happens when all those books go digital and the power goes out? Today's Guardian ponders a future where obsolescent technologies = a massive loss of data. It's the burning (deleting) of the library at Alexandria all over again.
In the 1980s, I worked at NASM on the Smithsonian's archival videodisc project, one of the first in the country. Me and my work partner Greg went through every single file in the archives, alphabetized and numbered every single photo — everything to do with airplanes and aeronautics — from 1 to 100,000. Then painstakingly shot every single photo in a specially configured darkroom, onto 35 mm film stock. Then processed the film, then ran it through a Steenbeck editor and edited the film by hand. Then transferred the resulting roll of film (massive) to videotape, and finally transferred the tape to laser videodiscs, which the museum sold for thirty bucks a pop. It took us about three years. The same thing could be done today at home, scanning photos into a computer. As far as I know, those 100,000 photos have never been scanned into a single database. Laserdisk technology checked out years ago. And the Smithsonian's photographic archives are a lot harder to gain access to than they used to be.