The Future of Books

I just listened in on an O'Reilly Media web seminar (webinar?) on the future of publishing digitally. All I can say is, I'm flat on the floor, panting for breath, and wondering how my life has crossed into this insane publishing world. I mean, I started writing with pen and ink (and now and then, pencil!) on paper, which I would then painstakingly type up on a manual typewriter, using carbon paper so I'd have a copy. Lord help me with correcting typos. The day Wite-Out was invented, I wanted to kiss the woman's feet who came up with the formula. (Her son was one of the Monkees, I understand. But I digress.)

Now the newest thing is constantly changing content, so the latest information is constantly streaming onto the page. Videos. Animation. Web links. Highlight a character's name, and her bio pops up in a separate box with all the relevant info so you can remember who she is. Videos inserted in text. Read a paragraph about the Battle of Hastings, and you can see a quick reenactment on video! Oh my stars. I'm ready to run for the hills, where I will live without running water, electricity, or gas generators.

Okay, I take back the last sentence. After Hurricane Isabelle struck, we had no power, no hot water, no laundry, we had to boil water to drink, and NO ICE for ten days. Primitve living does not agree with me. Especially when there's no power to plug in the laptop and iPad.

Part of me is scared silly of all these new applications ready to juice up the plain text page. Another part of me says, hey, it's just like redesigning the Mustang. They made it better, hotter, faster, and sure enough, safer. Roll with it. Get the lingo down. Once that hurdle is behind me, I can see all kinds of possibilites for authors on the Web.

I will not be a stick in the mud, I promise.