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The Future of Publishing is Frictionless: Part One

Future Rocket TravelThe future of publishing is frictionless. And whoever gets this wins.

Whoever doesn’t get this will simply melt into primordial ooze and be forgotten.

Because this is they way evolution rolls.

I wasn’t always a believer. A couple of years ago I was very resistant to the idea of eReading. Because let’s be honest, nobody likes change, not me and not anyone I can think of. Except maybe techies—they breathe the stuff as though it were air or something.

Meanwhile the rest of us take longer to convince. About halfway through embracing something new, we look at each other and say, “Hey, this isn’t so bad after all.” Then we grin maniacally for days and tell everyone we know they should try it. Whatever the change was.

But be honest, the last time somebody came up to you and announced, “Time for a change!” You squirmed. And then you tried to figure out a way around it. And I don’t blame you one bit.

But we’re past this point in publishing now. At this point, there are so many folks grinning maniacally and telling us to try things that if we are not trying them, we should probably get our head’s examined.

Or maybe retire.

I’m not ready to retire. In fact, I’m just getting started. Fortunately, I had a number of mind-opening moments in 2009. Here’s a quick recap. See what you think:

  • I was driving with my editor Jane Friedman (now publisher at Writer’s Digest) and she mentioned that she was reading Alice In Wonderland out loud as a bedtime story to her boyfriend’s daughter from her iPhone. (“From her iPhone?” I thought.)
  • Michael Hyatt posted this glimpse of the future technology, a video from Microsoft, in his blog. (Now THIS is exciting,” I thought.)
  • I interviewed Cory Doctorow for Writer’s Digest Magazine. (“Not a bad example to follow,” I thought.)
  • I attended several conferences that did justice to advances in the publishing industry: Tools of Change by O’Reilly Media, The Writer’s Digest/BEA Conference, and The Writer’s Digest Conference. (“Where have I been?” is what I was thinking. )
  • I read this post by thriller author J.A. Konrath in The Newbie’s Guide to Publishing blog on E-volution. (Sound of my brain exploding.)

At the beginning of the year, I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to have my latest book on the Kindle.

Today, I’m like, “Why isn’t my latest book on the Kindle?”

This is how change is. We resist. We resist. We resist. And then one day, we’re like, “What took me so long?”

Keeping up with the advances in technology in publishing presents three truths we all need to embrace now:

  1. Change in publishing is inevitable, now and forever.
  2. We’d all better deal with it and get used to it.
  3. The future will be frictionless whether we participate or not. Somebody’s going to figure it out.

The future is practically here. Let’s hope the frictionless part is following close behind.

This is part one of a series of posts, which will be continued.

Christina Katz is the author of Get Known Before the Book Deal and Writer Mama from Writer’s Digest Books

Photo by Marxchivist

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  • Sarah Horth December 16, 2009, 2:10 pm

    I never thought I would read books on my phone – what that small device? Are you crazy? I spent a lot of time in Japan and they have been into it for a long time (both reading and writing books on their phones!), but it still seemed strange to me. I would miss holding a book, having a cover – surely? And now that is all I do! It took me one book to become a convert to reading on my iPhone. I suppose it was like changing from records to CDs to having all your music on your computer. Sure you miss the covers a little bit, but the convenience way outweighs everything else.

  • The Writer Mama December 16, 2009, 7:08 pm

    Makes total sense to me, Sarah. Especially for folks who travel a lot. Especially for folks who travel to Japan a lot. 🙂

    I think the changes is happening slowly for awhile, then suddenly, the quantum leap!

    Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  • Mike Cane December 27, 2009, 5:21 pm

    Welcome to 2007:

    Should Apple Turn iTunes Into A Platform?

    See the two links in there about friction.

  • The Writer Mama December 27, 2009, 5:52 pm

    I think this calls for that “great minds” reply…only in this case you were three years ahead of me. 😉

  • Rosemary O'Brien December 31, 2009, 8:57 pm

    You scared me. In my haste, I misread FRICTIONLESS as FICTION – LESS!! That would not be good news for me, the novelist. LOL

    Happy 2010!

  • christinakatz December 31, 2009, 9:13 pm

    Ooo, Rosemary. I agree. That would be a very bleak day indeed. For sure, I meant: fRictionless.