Over the weekend I read Keith Gessen’s article in this month’s (October) issue of Vanity Fair, “The Book on Publishing”. And while I was anticipating reading about the author in general, Chad Harbach who spent a decade (10 years to those not yet familiar with the word “decade”) writing and revising his now famed published novel, “The Art of Fielding”, I was not prepared for the reality of where the publishing industry is actually heading. . .And I must say, it is an eye opener to those not yet familiar with the publishing industry.
Aside from delivering a great piece on Chad Harbach’s struggle to getting his novel published, Gessen’s article was not only informative and insightful behind the production of the book, he also imprinted a rather haunting reflection of where the publishing industry may be heading. . .out of print.
With the digital age having been fast approaching since the late 2000, it’s hard for struggling writer’s, such as myself, to believe, and with the economy still in a flux, that my novels will never make it to print, only digital.
While there is nothing eccentrically unethical with reading books online or within a reader because of their convenience with virtually no driving to the nearest bookstore or waiting in long lines to purchase the latest best-sellers, I would be the first to say that I would honestly miss the feel of turning an actual page, miss the feel of paper between my fingers. Or to say, I would miss the touch of a shield cloth protecting a great masterpiece, or holding something treasured, or owning something that could possibly be post-Americana Art.
I have been writing for the past thirty years. I only began pursuing my writing seriously in the last five years, and I must express this in grief and heartache because I can honestly see my lifelong dream of becoming a “traditional” author slowly succumbing to a “digital” author.
I will be the first to admit that I have dabbled-thus far, and with no success-in self-publishing a couple of novels online, with downloading capabilities to Kindle, Epub and PDF. And the only way I felt my novels could’ve gained marketable and profitable recognition had they been first traditionally published within a publishing house, offering the option of digital print. Self-publishing, I find, is a very competitive business particularly when contending with other self-publishers whom are flooding the market at a vast rate.
So I guess the question here is: Is digital print the way to go? Perhaps with the ever constant growth of modern day technology, digital publishing may no longer be the alternative to print as print could just possibly become. . .the alternative.
You can read Keith Gesson’s article in its entirety at http://www.VF.com.