Verbal spats between digital devotees and bookworms have been popping up all over message boards for quite sometime. On one side, the techies say that contrary to popular belief they do in fact read and they insist genius can be found online. On theÂ other side,Â the bookies say that computerized books and publications are the death toll for genuine intellectual written material. This spat jumped off the Internet and into a hotel conference room on Monday as attendees of SxSwi gathered to discuss this issue at a panel entitled The Future of Publishing.
Peter Miller,who blogged coverage for The Los Angeles Times, challenged one of the digital pushers as a book-hater and she fumbled some standard we-love-traditional-publishing-but answer (read the details of Miller’s moments at the panel here.) A writer pal of mine, Hannah White,Â who also attended the panel said, “the whole deal had this underlying push for the iPad and the Kindle and digital readers which, despite the hype, really haven’t proved to be much of a threat,” and she noted that the publishers were trying to remain upbeat and gracious. What both White and Miller pointed out, him in the article and her in a series of hilarious BBMs, is that it isn’t just the actual format we read things in that it is changing, but also the ways books and authors are to be marketed and sold.
White also shared that an evolution of marketing is already taking place in the biz. Members of the panel were in agreement that any author who wants to be taken seriously and become published better come to the party with a social media marketing plan already in motion and had better be fluent in the language of online marketing.Â Also, editors will be asked to step up their game and be equipped with creative ways for books to be successful in a multitude of formats. My devoted source and spy met two twenty-somethings after the panel broke. Both work for a big New York publisher running Facebook pagesÂ for two hot-shot authors and these whiz kids noted that artist and writer social media marketing positions are popping up all over NYC these days.
Instead of a final brutal grudge match between the two sides, there was a sense of warm fuzzy as the event wrapped up.Â Â With good old-fashioned books still banking decent numbers and the rise of the iPad yet to be determined, both sides of the coin were optimistic that the industry, while it is changing, isn’t dying off anytime soon.