The On the Media public radio show looks this week at the “past, present and future of books”—a full update of an earlier show from a year ago. Among the points made: “too many books, not enough profits.” Half a million books, by one estimate, are appearing on the U.S. annually.
Fueled by new technology such as the Espresso Book Machine, the self-publishing revolution will help multiply the current number of books. Same for initiatives such as Google’s digitization drive. So if you’re an overwhelmed reader-shopper, don’t expect relief—just the opposite. The good news is that e-books might be picking up some of the sales that the P side isn’t making. What’s more, one study found that young people might actually be reading more by some measurements. Hmm. I wonder if e-books could explain some of that.
Among other topics, OTM and a related podcast look at indie bookstores, social reading as commented on by Bob Stein of the Institute for the Future of the Book, paper books vs. e-books and urban fiction.
Related: Budding authors publish their own works online and in print, a BBC report mentioning the Espresso gizmo, as well as Beyond Borders: The future of bookselling, a Guardian and Observer item (both spotted via Gary Price). Also see Wikipedia on the number of books published each yea rin different countries. In addition, check out Ficbot and Shortcover’s observation on free books and DearAuthor’s take.
Housekeeping: The Adobe-related DRM commentary will come later in the week.