Where Do We Go From Here?

by J.T. Ellison

"Grandma, what’s this?" Our grandson, precocious and brilliant, hands me a hardcover copy of Lee Child’s NOTHING TO LOSE, published June 3, 2008. The pages are yellowing, the spine is cracked. The book is well-read.

"That’s what your granddaddy and I used to call a book, sweetheart," I say with a smile.

"A book? That’s not right. Books aren’t hard like this. This is so thick, and heavy. I like my way better."

His way. All-digital, no paper, no binding. Free for download — every "book" ever written at the touch of a button. The terabyte readers, the size of my thumb, are obsolete. Holographic images make reading more like watching a movie —  a device the size of a hearing aid allows the brain to process the words into scenes which act themselves out before your eyes. There are no publishing houses. Everything is accessible online, and the online world is very different from what we had when I was writing books.

Sigh. Yes, I’ve done something I don’t normally do — look to the future to anticipate what might happen to our industry. This is obviously a sci-fi version of events (including the virtual grandson.) With the glut of blogs this week decrying Book Expo, Borders laying off 274 employees, Harper Collins announcing by Summer 2009 all of their sales catalog will be 100% electronic, the huge spike in book trailers, my own publisher, Mira, making every front-list title automatically available as e-books, agents using Kindles to plow through their submissions so they don’t have to lug manuscripts back and forth… I think we need to start facing facts.

The future of the book industry is happening, right now.

Book Expo was less well attended this year, understandable for three reasons — one, it’s damn expensive to travel now. Two, the American Library Association meeting is later this month in California as well — a big travel cost to expect the librarians to undertake. And three — the simple fact that so much of our work is done electronically, it’s not cost-effective for publishers to travel to trade shows. Thomas Nelson, always a major force at BEA, pulled out entirely. If you think of the cost of flying your entire sales staff across country, hotel and food costs, parties to be thrown, renting booth space, putting together a slick and user-friendly booth, having your booth staffed with sales folks and authors, oh, and let’s not forget — GIVING AWAY THOUSANDS OF BOOKS — you can imagine just how much that costs a publisher.

Has the trade show gone the way of the dinosaur?  Is it obsolete?  There’s certainly no lack of criticism, but I see that every year. I went to Book Expo last year, signed in my publisher’s booth, then spent hours wandering around, overwhelmed with the choices, watching sales folks take meetings with bookstore reps, collecting more free books than I could legitimately carry, and in general had a good time. But  outside of handing free books to potential readers (who, remember, must PAY for the privilege of being handed said "free" book by registering for the conference) and holding meetings with booksellers, how effective is the trade show? What purpose does it serve, when in reality, the vast majority of connections are done electronically?

Back in the day when we didn’t have the Internet to access and meet our customers, the trade show was a vital aspect of business. I used to be a staffer at our trade shows for Lockheed Martin, and trust me, many, many deals were made, for billions of dollars. Companies were able to meet the people who were submitting proposals, shake hands and look into the eye of the guy you may be awarding a multi-million dollar contract to. That was very, very important. Now, will the faux-closeness of the Internet, we don’t need to worry about it. We can get to know someone very well through their online dealings. You don’t NEED to meet in person, video conferencing takes care of that.

When Harper Collins announced they were going all electronic, I wasn’t especially surprised. Think about it, most of our major organizations have e-newsletters available instead of mailing hard copies. Emails correspondence from several of my "places" have a tag line at the bottom reminding me not to print the email unless it’s absolutely necessary. The greening of our culture is definitely translating to the book industry. And you know there are more changes to follow. If our next President is of a certain ilk, he’s bound to address the environmental concerns with actual green legislation — it might become illegal waste paper, and then where will we be?

Don’t get me wrong — I did a whole blog about the importance of meeting your "people" face to face. I still believe that knowing your editor and agent is vital. That
meeting the upper management and sales staff of your house is very,
very helpful. But the old way of doing business is just that, the old way. You can have a full and successful career without ever leaving your house now. Scary, but true.

We hear admonishments that we need to embrace the new age, but really, haven’t we already started? Look at what happened here at Murderati this week — we as a "web log" AKA a "blog," were nominated for one of the most prestigious crime fiction awards. This is the first time the Anthony Awards have included a website category. Two years ago, blogging in the mystery community was relatively nascent, with only a few major blogs underway. Now there are thousands, and we tell new writers, "You must have a platform — a website or a blog — to get your name out there." It’s become de rigeur to have a blog.

And let’s take a hard look at what a blog is. Remember the great concept from Stephen King in ON WRITING, where he postulates that a writer and a reader are having a telepathic connection? Right now, we’re communication, you and I. You’re reading my words and getting a window into my mind. If you’ve been a reader for long enough, you’ve watched me grow from an unpublished newbie to an author with six books under contract. I’ve changed and grown over the past two years, right before your eyes. And this blog, the instant communication, let’s me do that. Pretty cool, you know?

We’re giving away the content, too. We don’t charge for you to come read our thoughts. We’re grateful that you care enough to stop by on a regular basis, to engage in the comments, to interact with us. Can you imagine if we’d had this kind of unprecedented access to authors one hundred years ago? Heck, five years ago?

This is another important point in this brave new world. Free content. We’re giving away writing tips,  giving away marketing tips — seriously, a new writer can spend a day reading through our incredible archives and learn just about everything they need to know about getting published. When will it come to be that we’re giving our books away for free? I mean, let’s be real — my ebook sales aren’t going to be buying my Lamborghini Gallardo anytime soon, but they’re steadily rising as the Kindle becomes more and more popular. Look at Project Gutenberg. This is going to be the norm sooner than you think.

I’m lately come to text messaging and instant messaging — more because I find it a time suck than a value — but it’s the immediacy of communication that’s sweeping our culture. Heck, I don’t get a lot of email from friends anymore — we’re communicating on Facebook and Aim. I’ve been dragged kicking and screaming into this new age, but as media/geek blogger Rex Hammock points out, no one under 24 emails anymore. 

This is what we need to be paying attention to — the Echo Boomers (approx. aged 13-27) expect free digital content, easily accessible and downloadable to their portable phones. Can you imagine what their kids are going to expect?

Demand drives the consumer marketplace, and reaching consumers is our goal as writers. The word to pay attention to is instant. I’m not one to extol the virtues of instant gratification for the younger set — I still stick to the parochial belief that perhaps talking to a kid is better than just showing him a movie — but the market is trending younger, and the Echo Boomers will be making the decisions soon. A Gen Xer just took over Random House. The guy is my age, and he’s running one of the most storied publishing houses in history. I know that may sound really depressing, but for me, it’s terribly exciting. So there you go. Time, unfortunately, marches on.

As bad as I feel for the folks who had a hard time at BEA, I’m glad that everyone is starting to pay attention. Changes are sweeping through our industry, many of them for the better. Will the newer generations eradicate the physical book? Quite possibly. We never though vinyl would go the way of the dinosaur. So my earlier semi-joke about my virtual grandson reading through a mental holographic system? Maybe not so far fetched after all.

Sara Lloyd, from Pan Macmillan, published "A Book Publisher’s Manifesto for the 21st Century" in full this week, and it is an absolute must read for everyone, readers and writers alike.

So, go. Let me have it. Am I nuts?

Wine of the Week: 2006 Fuedo Arancio Nero D’Avola — Fruity and young, but tasty!

38 thoughts on “Where Do We Go From Here?

  1. Alexandra Sokoloff

    I was only at BEA for a day because I was teaching at the fabulously successful Pen to Press workshop in New Orleans, which I’ll talk about tomorrow, so I guess I’m behind on gossip – I mean, industry news. Who was having a hard time at BEA? What do you mean?

    From an author POV, even when attendance is down, there’s still no better venue for networking in a concentrated way. I think attendance was down partly because of ALA coming up and also because BEA was in LA (if you can keep all these letters straight). A non-NY event is always going to be more sparsely attended.

    On the other hand, it made getting around the halls a hell of a lot easier.

  2. Jake Nantz

    I’ve never been to BEA, and I have no idea about the future of book publishing (hell, I’m still learning about the present). However, I can tell you that when I’m on a plane, or lying in bed at night, or just sitting in my normal reading spots, I don’t want a laptop, or blackberry, or Kindle. I want a book. I’ll always want a book, and I’m only 33 (I know, I know, “only”). My wife is 26 and she’s the same way. What have we Gen Y-ers done to start this ridiculous trend of EVERYTHING! MUST! BE! INSTANT! ???

    Sorry, my soapbox snuck under me. I don’t know, I just see every day what idiocy like text-talk is doing to bastardize the English language. I get papers from Honors-level HS Seniors with crap like b/c and w/ because they are too lazy to write the words out. Drive me nuts, because mommy and daddy want to know why their child is doing so poorly in my class, when they can’t even hold a conversation with the kid unless they have unlimited texting and an AIM profile.

    Ugh. Ship me back to the 80s.

  3. billie

    I don’t think you’re nuts – but I also think there is room for emotional attachment to reading and ways of communicating that will kick in for many people as things change.

    I finally joined Facebook because a good friend moved to Bali and it’s easier for him to post photos on there for his friends here to see. I even uploaded a photo myself. But all the “add-ons” and the finding friends – I’ve ignored it. It feels like a game, and I’ve never been the least intrigued with cartoons, video games, computer games, etc.

    I will always want a book in my hand. The kids growing up with books in their houses will still, I would bet, want books. My daughter is as savvy as they come on the computer, but she will adamantly not read books online. She uses her own money to buy books every week – this week it was 4 and she has already read those and wants to go back to the bookstore again.

    My feeling is that the “business” stuff that is more easily conducted over the internet will get conducted that way. The ease of querying agents, working with editors, etc. will continue online.

    The emotional things we’ll hold on to.

    I queried an agent just last year who is not “old” but refuses to communicate by email. I sent the old fashioned letter, he responded that way, and signed his name in blue ink at the bottom. I sent pages through the mail, he sent them back with his notes.

    Just this week I needed to update one of my writing teachers/mentors on how things are going with the books. She doesn’t do email. She doesn’t have a cell phone. I wrote her a letter and picked out a nice stamp to put on the envelope. She wrote back. If I were dealing with the phone company I’d prefer email/voicemail/etc. But I love getting letters from this woman and I can promise you, nothing will convert that to Facebook or … the other one – my mind has gone blank even as I type!

    You can’t begin to imagine how excited I was to get Toni’s signed copies in the mail last week. It’s that kind of emotional feeling that will keep us connecting in the “regular old ways” – even if we embrace the newer ways for convenience sake at the same time.

  4. R.J. Mangahas

    The Kindle you say? That sounds like fireplace wood. I don’t think the paper book will become obsolete. There are just too many people who enjoy an actual book. My sisters kids all still like books. Sure they may have the fancy gadgets and all, but I see that there are still books on the shelves. (Yes, they’ve been read)

    And here’s how I see it. If this world becomes so electronic dependent, it’s the ones who still know how to do things the “old way” who will survive if there’s ever a total breakdown in gadgetry. Or, the world will look all post-apocalyptic a la Mad Max.

  5. JT Ellison

    Alex, I’ve linked to some of the Publisher’s Weekly coverage of BEA so you can catch up through that. They are in the first paragraph. A couple of the stories I read were also from Publisher’s Marketplace, who were decidedly more negative, but they are premium content, so it won’t link properly. If you’re a member of PM, you should have been seeing Lunch all last week. Galley Cat was also in attendance and quoted several industry people.

  6. JT Ellison

    Hi Jake, thanks for stopping by. I can’t say I disagree with you. I love my books. The feel, the smell, the act of sitting in my chair, with one in my lap, the whisper of the pages as they turn. I had an ebook when they first came out and abandoned it within a few months once I found out I couldn’t read outside.

    But with the industry started to figure out that the cost of hardcovers versus trade paperback makes trade a very exciting alternative, and the simple fact that digital content is on the rise… The newspaper industry didn’t think they’d become obsolete either. Talk to anyone who worked for one in the past ten years — the focus is on their electronic edition. Cuts in staff, newshole, book reviews and investigative journalism has driven them to a free content driven system. I don’t like it, but I think it’s going to happen whether we want it to or not.

  7. JT Ellison

    Billie, I just sent a slew of cards and hand-written thank you notes (you know the old joke about why debutantes hate group sex? There’s all those damn thank you notes!) to cover my trip to Omaha. I always try to write a physical thank you, though sometimes I get my electronic one in and decide to let it go at that. But I haven’t written a letter, a real letter, in years. I communicate almost solely through the computer with 99% of my friends. I just rediscovered a bunch of high school buddies on Facebook and spent time catching up.

    I can imagine how excited you were to get Toni’s books — I would be too! : ) My hand signed copies of books by my favorite authors have a special place, and I treasure each of them because it means I’ve actually been able to have a face to face with them.

  8. Louise Ure

    Now email is obsolete? Damn I feel old.

    Off to Boise this morning. I’ll be back next Tuesday with lots of stories from Murder in the Grove. Sure am glad they’re not doing a virtual con online!

  9. JT Ellison

    RJ, I’m not espousing that it’s going to be Big Brother, that soma will be handed out and we’ll be forced to plug in mentally to the databases. But it is a fact that our population is seeing increases in kids and the elderly. So a fight is brewing, people who want real book, and people who want digital content.

    There’s a underground cultural movement called Steampunk, that incorporates the music and lifestyle (and manners) of the pre-industrial age. I love the concept, and it’s seeing a new rise in popularity lately, as people search for a way to make sense of all the innovations underway. I think it’s why historical suspense is getting so huge right now, because there’s a desire to go back to a simpler time, when watching Britney Spears parade without underwear on national television wasn’t the norm.

    I also think the Kindle is just the crack in the door to the future of books. It’s lumpy. When Apple gets involved, watch out. The music industry was shaken up by them, I bet we will too.

    But it all comes down to choice. If the consumer says NO, we won’t, then they’ll have to look at that.

  10. JDRhoades

    I think the Kindle (or whatever cheaper, nonvendor specific alternative replaces it, and yes, my money’s on Apple) is going to be like the audio book: it’ll be another method of receiving the work, but it’ll be a long time, if ever, before it completely supplants the physical book.

    OTOH, I was very happy when St. M’s told me my catalog was coming out in Kindle, because I was getting quite a few queries.

  11. Pari Noskin Taichert

    JT,I don’t think you’re that far off. Timing is debatable, but I’m convinced that paper books will be rare by the time my children’s children are born — or before.

    Same with booksignings and travel as a method of promotion.

    The challenge will be to make these new media and methods of communication even more personal. I realized when I typed that that it may not even be an issue. Kids who are raised wired WILL think that electronic communication is personal.


    Do you have any really good websites or sources to become better adept at understanding electronic communications/internet potential? I’d be very, very interested.

  12. Jake Nantz

    I tend to agree with Mr. Rhoades on this one, as far as it being ANOTHER way, instead of THE NEW AND ONLY way. I look at history for perspective, and I see what happened in Great Britain during/after the Industrial Revolution. The Romantics sprung up and said “NO!” to the industrial money-mongers. Now all delusions of grandeur aside (I like Wordsworth, but I don’t think I’m him reincarnated, or anything), I think there will be enough of us that see our books flying off the shelves and rail against it in the only way we know how until we’re heard (and listened to, rather than heard and ignored).

    Again, just my thoughts. And yeah, I read the newspaper online (actually, I read the LA Times and watch the news, because I refuse to give any money, even hits-generated ad money, to the Raleigh News & Observer…what biased tripe that fishwrap is…), but I still like my books with the faded ink, crisp or (rubbed-soft) pages, bent paperback or firm hardcover. I’ll listen to my iPod when I mow the grass, but there will be no Kindle in my hands for reading. Not this kid. No way.

    Of course, if I ever get published and people want my novel available on Kindle, I say RIGHT AWAY! because I have no morals or shame…at least none I want made public.

  13. Bill Cameron

    My first physical encounter with a Kindle was on the airplane heading down to LA for BEA. It belonged to the elderly lady in the seat next to me, and she loved it. I asked and she graciously allowed me to play for a few minutes, and I have to say, this is the larval form of the future of book-reading.

    I am fully in the camp of books as artifacts. I love the feel of a book in my hands, of the scent of printed paper, of sensuous pleasure I take in reading.

    But, hell, I read plenty of books that I wouldn’t mind reading on a device. It’s the pile-up around the house of books I will read (and more often than not enjoy) only once that attracts me to the Kindle and whatever it morphs into.

    And even now, it’s not bad. It’s clean reading, auto-large type for folks who need it (as I am, increasingly, myself) and a good size, with a decent feel in the hand. It’s not a book, but it’s not NOT a book either.

    Something is going to happen. E-this, digital-that. Books as artifacts will eventually become what vinyl records are today, and if so, well, we can ball our fists and stomp our feet, or we can figure out how to make it work for us.

    What worries me now is not the inevitable march of technology, but how it will be leveraged, and by whom. Sell my books for Kindle, please. But don’t forget to pay me for them. It’s still a book, and I still have rent to pay.

  14. toni

    I think the hardcover will eventually go the way of the dinosaur for the reasons Jeff mentioned in his terrific blog over at http://www.firstoffenders.typepad.com/ yesterday.

    Technologically, I think the next big way will be flex screens – thin rollable or foldable high resolution screens which are either an accessory or built right into the new PDA phones which give the benefits of carrying around just the PDA — and allows for electronic reading wherever, without having to carry two separate units. (The way the MP3s have all been integrated into phones now.)

    The advantage to that technology isn’t just going to be for the younger generation, but for the older one. My parents spend way more time on the computer now than they did even a couple of years ago. Ever watch an older person browse for books? They’re most likely NOT going to sit on the floor or try to see what’s on that bottom shelf, so everything there is eliminated. They’re often wearing bifocals, which makes tilting the head to see some of the titles a pain. They’re the aging generation and they love reading, but we’re not making it easy for them… yet. But ebooks will, and when they can download whatever they want inexpensively (they are, generally, on a budget), and they can enlarge the text, have something comfortable to hold… I think it would take off for that market. (Which means as each market ages, the benefits would be there.)

    I think it’s a good idea for catalogs to go digital. Frankly, I don’t think many people read through the majority of what comes in–I heard too many stories of them languishing in piles. But interactive websites that pulls a bookseller in and maybe gives him/her something extra to show their customers? More memorable.

  15. Naomi

    All I can say is I can’t wait to get an e-reader! For me, it’s mostly about content–not necessarily the package, although a beautiful cover and page layout will definitely strum my heart strings.

    I’m just running out of physical space. I probably have to cut my book collection by fifty percent or more, and I know if I had these books stored away on an e-reader, it would make this culling experience less painful.

    I was at BEA, my first, so I don’t have much to compare it with. Here are some photos I posted on crimespace:


    I believe the author/blogger who wrote the book on paring down your life and e-mails maintained that face-to-face contact is still so valuable, especially now when we do networking electronically. So nothing–videoconferencing, etc. will completely replace the power of 5D personal contact.

    In terms of BEA, I think the rise of the big-box retailers and decreasing number of independent booksellers, in addition to other conferences, such as the upcoming ALA event in Southern California, took a toll on attendance.

    In terms of helpful tech blogs, I persue Seth Godin’s:


    I sometimes check out Guy Kawasaki’s, too.

    Since I’m expanding into children’s lit, I found the May Technology issue of the School Library Journal (www.slj.com) especially interesting. It’s chockfull of great tips. An article’s author advises: “Don’t try too hard to be cool.” I had to laugh at that!

  16. R.J. Mangahas


    I like that concept of Steampunk as well (and I too could live without Britney Spears and the whole non-underwear thing).

    And of course it comes down to the consumer saying NO, however (and I’m not saying everyone) we are often swayed by the media. If you see lots of commercials about something, or if a celebrity owns one, that unfortunately can act as a driving force for a consumer. Everyone at one time or another has been sucked in by it.

    Also, gadgets (instead of brand name clothes or shoes) are now what represents one’s social status. If you’re the kid in high school who doesn’t have the latest cell phone or device (or don’t have one at all) you can be a social outcast. Again,I know this is generalizing, but it’s just what I’ve observed. I’ll also admit that I’m guilty of wanting on-line references and such, but not when it comes to books.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying ALL technology is bad. It’s because of modern technology that I have much improved vision. All I’m saying is that it’s a sad state of affairs when technology defines everything about us.

    Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

  17. JT Ellison

    Hi all,Sorry I’m late — had a lunch appt.

    Here’s a list of technology sites, Pari. Rex Hammock is a Nashville guy who is pretty current. And Naomi’s suggestions are fabulous too. I think you’re right about the Brave New World. There was a time when people wouldn’t leave the house without hats and gloves. Now look at us. It’s not necessarily good, but it will happen.

    This is an older Rex Post linking to the NY Times. Good Stuff.


    Other blogs:

    Church of the Customerhttp://www.churchofthecustomer.com/

    Doc Searlshttp://blogs.law.harvard.edu/doc/


    Here’s the list of the top tech blogs on the web:http://www.wikio.com/blogs/top/technology

  18. JT Ellison

    Dusty, you and Jake are absolutely right — it’s just another way of looking at things. I really do think the Kindle is only a very early entry into the digital medium. There’s a great site I play on called EnGadget (www.engadget.com) that has a ton of the rumors and devices that are coming down the pike. One look there and it’s shocking — the future really is here.

  19. JT Ellison

    …we can ball our fists and stomp our feet, or we can figure out how to make it work for us.

    Bill, you made me laugh. That’s sort of what it feels like — we can fight it and fight it, but we’re probably fighting a losing battle. You’re right about who’s going to get rich next though. Google’s reader is supposed to smoke the Kindle. Buy stock now!

  20. JT Ellison

    Toni, you make such an excellent point. With our readers getting older, ease of use and ease of sight will have a lot to do with where we go. Large print screens make it easier to read. Yes, we sacrifice the comfort of a book, but it might be easier on the reader.

    I saw a gadget the other day from Japan, I think, that used a holograph to make a laptop screen and keyboard. It plugs into the internet with this device the size of a pen, and it’s like a micro-mini projector. Soo cool. You can take your laptop anywhere, and it’s no more difficult than carrying a PEN. Man, I wish I could find that link.

  21. JT Ellison

    Naomi, thanks for these great links!!!

    I know exactly what you mean about space. I just carted two cartons of books to McKay’s. I HATE to give books up — won’t part with hardcovers at all, but I was totally out of space. Hubby put his foot down, no more bookcases (we’re overrun). And the idea of taking an e-reader to Italy with 100 books at my disposal is quite enchanting.

  22. JT Ellison

    RJ, true confessions time. I am a gadget junkie. I got an iPhone for my birthday and am convinced it’s the coolest thing in the world, even though it got no reception in my house. But I turned it back in because two days after I got it AT&T announced they were bringing out the 3G phone for $200 cheaper. I can’t WAIT for Monday. I’ve already bookmarked the MacWorld Rumor site who are broadcasting the keynote live.

    And I will admit that if Nathan Fillion were to announce to me that I needed a Kindle, I’d probably go get one. But only him. : )

  23. R.J. Mangahas


    I love gadgets too, though I don’t know if I’d go so far as gadget ‘junkie.’ I do have an mp3 player AND a phone, but it only goes as far as music and pictures (okay, maybe video).

    It’s good to know that you won’t be persuaded to the Kindle (unless by Nathan Fillion).

    If I get anymore gadgets myself though, I think I may have to go a GA meeting. (Hello, my name is RJ and I’m a gadget junkie)

  24. Erin

    I can’t imagine a world without paper books. I don’t want to “read” on an electronic device. I like the feel of the book in my hand, the smell of the pages, etc. It’s an entirely different sensory experience than watching something. I’ve read some books online and it’s just not the same. I have to hold the book myself to get the complete experience.

  25. Catherine

    Few scattered thoughts here regarding issues raised.(‘cos that’s where my heads at)

    Having a nerdy moment here, but I’d love to know what the environmental cost of producing electronics are compared with plantation produced paper. I say this from a fairly fierce emotional response to loving the feel of a book in my hands.

    I was also amused the other day by my 24 year old daughter showing me the text message of some guy she is interested in because he used perfect punctuation. Her admiring comment was, ‘look Mum he doesn’t use any of that idiot text language.’

    Also I recently watched an Australian communications company (Telstra) demonstrate real time hologram technology. There is a youtube video at


    The Gizmodo site has a slogan that may appeal to you JT.

    ‘Gizmodo, the gadget guide. So much in love with shiny new toys, it’s unnatural.’

  26. JT Ellison

    RJ — too true. I just found out my local bookstore resells electronics — I have a couple of old iPods that need to go. I need GA meetings, badly. Thank God I don’t have the money to indulge in my other passion — cars. We’d really be in trouble.

  27. JT Ellison

    Erin, I’ve decided age has nothing to do with class. Books are first and foremost classy. They educate, and I’ve always been a big fan of autodidacticism. People who continue to want to learn will always rule.

    Hi Catherine!You’re absolutely right. I’ve stolen the line John Connolly used at a booksigning years ago — we writers are like magpies, always attracted to shiny things.

    Can you try another link to the video? I can’t get that one to work. Or give me the search term for YouTube and I’ll tinyurl it.

  28. JDRhoades

    That video demo of hologram “presence” technology was fascinating. Wish they’d done more with it.

    Now, the “not taking up space” argument might just get me to warm to the whole e-reader idea.

    We’re like you, JT: we’ve got books piled everywhere, including the shed and the attic. And there’s no way we’re going to stop getting new ones.

  29. JT Ellison

    Ooooh, the holograph video is soo cool! Thanks for that, Catherine. Wasn’t there a movie with Michael Douglas and Demi Moore that had holographic technology??

    Pari, you’re probably right : )

  30. R.J. Mangahas


    I could put you in touch with my GadgAnon sponsor. He doesn’t care for electronics all too much. 🙂

    I guess it is a good thing you can’t indulge on the cars. And it’s also a good thing I don’t have an obsession with wines, otherwise it wouldn’t be good for me to read your posts, unless I stop before the end. (I’ve already tried a couple of the wines that you’ve mentioned in previous posts)

  31. Fran

    I suspect that ebooks are going to be very popular simply because of the space they save, but collectors are going to want the old-fashioned kind, cloth bound and signed in real ink by living people.

    There are already virtual bookstores out there where you can browse the “shelves” from your computer, place your order and voila! the book arrives. There are virtual signings and virtual author conversations already.

    Never downplay your importance though. We had a slew of people in for the signing today, and yeah it was Lee Child, but people do like meeting the person who found the right words to put on the paper. Being in your presence is an inspiration to many, even if you don’t believe it at the time.

    And be aware that while lots of people who promote ebooks are talking about saving paper/trees, let’s not overlook the several facts that 1) there are a lot of non-biodegradable parts in ebooks, and they’re going to have to go somewhere eventually, 2) ebooks and bath water or sea water? Need I say more? and 3) you can’t just loan your ebook to a friend.

    So I see a value to both, for some time to come. But that may be wishful thinking on my part, because I really do love my job!

  32. JT Ellison

    Fran, we love hearing from you! I’m jealous that you got to host Lee — isn’t he the greatest! I agree, there’s something special meeting your writers, to see the people who put the words on the page.


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