I came across a fascinating doomsday article about printing and publishing when I was trying to read up/foam from the mouth about the Dream Kindle. The most interesting part of the article isn’t what he says, as we have heard the sky-is-falling song for a while now, but how he correlates the Internet with Gutenberg’s invention.
The author brings up the invention of the octavo volume during printings infancy. The octavo volume was a smaller book in italic type, more portable and cheaper, “expanding the market for all publishers, heightening the value of literacy still further.”
It’s comforting in that the author seems excited to usher in a new phase of information. He’s saying at this point there is no right answer, no octavo volume that everyone agrees on as pushing us forward. Instead he calls for “experiments, lots and lots of experiments, each of which will seem as minor at launch as craigslist did, as Wikipedia did, as octavo volumes did.”
It’s written by Clay Shirky who is a professor in NYU’s graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program and a consultant for Nokia, GBN, the Library of Congress, the Highlands Forum, the Markle Foundation, and the BBC. It’s definitely worth a read. You can read the rest of the article here.