Monday, May 26, 2008

McCrum in Ten Chapters

The Observer's literary editor Robert McCrum hangs up his hat after more than 10 years in the job and gives us a fascinating whistle-stop tour of the changes he has seen in the publishing world in that time.

Along the way he shares his thoughts on subjects such as: Zadie Smith and the new generation of authors; how Amazon.com has changed the retail market; the rise and rise of Rowling; Franzen snubbing Oprah; the explosion of literary festivals; how literary prizes have come to be the most reliable guides in a perplexing landscape; why McEwan's success typifies the decade; how blogs have taken over the role of reviewing; how Lynne Truss talks to our anxiety in an age of cultural upheaval; and finally, the Kindle.

This article is a must-read for anyone interested in the trends, and it's nice to discover that McCrum is very optimistic about the future of the book :
... what I have described are the birth pangs of a golden age. The market for the printed book is now global; the opportunities for the digital book are almost unimaginable. To be a writer in the English language today is to be one of the luckiest people alive.

4 comments:

Chet said...

It's interesting that Amazon and Kindle are featured in 2 separate chapters in this round-up. Is that a sign for you, Sharon?

Vincent Liew said...

It's amazing how he is optimistic about kindle.

But I will still want to read book the old fashion way.. pages by pages..

Well, Unless we need to save the environment.. we gotta save trees.. then I'll consider Kindle-ing

=)

Chet said...

The Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader and other ebook reading devices offer another way to read books. We often despair how the younger generation may not be reading as much as they should, but if books were presented to them in a way that would get them reading, then why not? A short while back, while speaking with a new acquaintance from England, I'd learned that he considers audiobooks to be ebooks. So, iTunes and iPods are another way to get more people to read, or to listen to books being read. Anything to get more people to read, even on handphones while riding on the LRT.

Emily said...

Kindle or similar models should be used in place of all textbooks ~ lighter school bags would be the result!

And leave books as they are to us old timers!