Ebooks – The End Of The World As We Know It?
In the animated movie “The Incredibles” there is an interesting scene where ‘Mr. Incredible’s’ nemesis ‘Syndrome’ has clued the hero in on who he really is and how a careless interaction by Mr. Incredible when Syndrome was young was the excuse he chose to use to define why he was evil.
Syndrome aspired to hero status, but it was simply a ruse with evil intent.
When Mr. Incredible asks why he is doing this, Syndrome replies, “I’ll give them heroics. I’ll give them the most spectacular heroics the world has ever seen! And when I’m old and I’ve had my fun, I’ll sell my inventions so that ‘everyone’ can have powers. ‘Everyone’ can be Super! And when everyone’s Super… No one will be.”
If you think about it long enough this line is an indictment against virtually anything that is opened up to the masses. What once was hard to accomplish is now made less difficult through online technology and downloads.
Publishers may view Ebooks as the logical conclusion to the act of allowing everyone to have the power to publish. Publishers often view organic ebook publishing as inferior works that dilute the perceived genius of traditional publishing. In essence they would likely agree with Pixar’s ‘Syndrome’ – when everyone can publish, publishing is no longer special.
Today ordinary citizens are publishing ebooks, blogs and knowledge-based articles. In so many ways this work represents a flood of material that is actually filling a void left by publishers who often feel the material is less than worthy of their publishing efforts.
Most ebooks cater to niche information that would not make money for traditional publishers. By doing so they are catering to knowledge consumers in a way traditional publishers can’t keep up with.
The truth is the icons of publishing remain icons and the publishing business continues (although the impact of online information has had a noticeable impact on newspaper circulation). As preconceived notions about ebooks are challenged many traditional publishers are sometimes grudgingly accepting the role ebooks play in a hi-tech world.
Many traditional authors are even demanding their work be offered both in traditional print as well as ebook download.
Unlike Syndrome who wanted to make everyone a super hero, a world where publishing boundaries are erased does not mean the end of publishing. What it does mean is that the playing field is level enough so any who wish to pursue publishing opportunities can do so in their own unique voice on a subject they have unique knowledge about.
In the case of ebooks the world has changed, and it hasn’t necessarily been a negative change.