Friday, March 06, 2009

More on Looking to the Future

On Saturday, I reported here that Amazon had backed down from the debate over the text-to-speech feature of their Kindle 2.

While I'm not a fan of Amazon, I agreed with them that t-t-s was legal. I thought the Authors Guild stance was regressive. Back on February 13, I said:
If history has taught us anything, it is that technology cannot be stopped . . . . IMHO, the Authors Guild does writers no favors by encouraging them to cling to a model that is ultimately doomed to failure . . . Writers need to learn to straddle both worlds--print and e-books--and to move forward with their readers, not against them.
Two bloggers I respect agreed with me.

On Sunday, Seth Godin, an author, had a post here titled "Beware of Trade Guilds Maintaining the Status Quo." Godin said:
Whenever a trade association raises the barricades and tries to lobby their way into maintaining the status quo, they are doing their members a disservice. Instead of spending time and insight and effort reinventing what they do and organizing for a better future, the members are lulled into a sense of security that somehow, somehow, the future will be just like today.

The key takeaway isn't that the lobbying doesn't work (though it usually doesn't). The problem is that the lobbying takes your attention away from the changes you can actually control and implement.
The following day, Monday, Michael Hyatt, a publisher, said here:
As Amazon itself has argued, no audio is recorded. In principle, it is no different than me handing my book to a friend and asking him to read it aloud to me. Nothing is recorded. Nothing is performed . . . From my point-of-view, this feature is actually an added value that serves to make reading more accessible by more people in more situations.
Of course, a few days later, Mike and his company Thomas Nelson put their money where their opinions were, announcing NelsonFree, an initiative in which they will offer the physical book, the audio book and the ebook . . . all for the same price.

It's an exciting time in the publishing world.

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