I was very interested late last year to learn the term bookfuturism.
And I think I may be a bookfuturist.
It was a link from Kirsty Burow that first put me onto this.
Kirsty declares herself a ‘bookfuturist and book lover’ in her Twitter bio, and her pro-digital musings were refreshing coming from someone in the publishing industry (UQP), most of whom I have found to be die-hard bookservatives.
‘Bookservatives’ and ‘technofuturists’ are pitted against each other in Tim Carmondy’s Bookfuturist Manifesto, the post that had first influenced Burow.
In light of this weeks big news story about Australian book stores Borders and Angus and Robertson going into receivership and the simplistic ‘video killed the radio star’ style beat up about how iPads and Kindles are essentially to blame for putting Tim Winton out of business (anyone else notice the journos struggle to find another popular Aussie author to cite?) it’s worth remembering that radio is still around. Why? Because people still want it…the same is the case with books. Books are not analogous to vinyl records, a technology made difficult to sustain as it requires a specific machine to play it. As long as people have eyes, the paperback will be a difficult technology to eradicate.
(By the way, is anyone else having a Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail kind of moment? When big book store chains take over the book buying market by using their size to buy big, slash prices, and force themselves right in front of our face in every major shopping mall, I do find it hard to muster sympathy when they are pushed right back out by that same market…)
This afternoon Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten has rejected calls for a review of Australia’s book importation regime, which is well and good for those arguing that this protects Australian authors. But where does this leave book lovers…and book futurists? For those who do delight in bookshop browsing, is it just a matter of time before the inability of industry to adapt to a BOOKS ARE ONLY THE BEGINNING climate of reading leads to more book store closures?
Publishers, readers, book sellers, authors, teachers, librarians…your thoughts?