Books –Digital or Ink–Will Always Matter

“More content is published now than ever before,” said Dominique Raccah, ceo of Sourcebooks, Inc., a Chicago-based innovator publisher with at least eight imprints.

Speaking before a crowd of perhaps 100 at the Cultural Center last Tuesday for a “What’s New & What’s Next in Chicago Publishing” panel through the City of Chicago, she wowed me and most every one there.

In 2009, there were 1 million ISBN’s created (new book titles) in this country alone. She agreed there is a “devaluation” of content with all this “cacophony,” so connecting as an author with readers is essential. Whether that comes with enhanced ebooks, apps, interactivity or other future innovations, publishing can no longer stand still in the model it procured for centuries.

One exciting, “everyman” product she is innovating is linked to Stephen Markley’s Publish this Book: A Premature Memoir, inviting writers into the publishing  process directly to submit writing for their own memoirs.

Next up was Daniel Sinker, who has a teeny tiny business card, calling himself, “journalist, educator, builder of things.” I liked him right away. Sinker launched cell stories, a mobile phone storytelling application, where writers submit short, I mean short, as in about 350 words, stories so readers can read them on their phones. Brilliant.

“Location is a transformational vector in how to think about  content and how content is consumed,” he said. 

 Mobile storytelling allows for new ideas and innovations in delivery. I was pumped. Then some questions from the audience quickly brought me back down.

A woman in the auditorium, clearly annoyed, asked both Ms. Raccah and Mr. Sinker, if all this meant she would have to try to push her content digitally in all forms, when all she really wanted to worry about was her characters. I mean, it’s hard enough just writing.

Much eye-rolling ensured.

Your next book may be here

I did not hiss. But felt like it.

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