Welcome to my greatest passion in life, BOOKS! Come on in kick off your shoes, grab a cup of tea [Java] and join me while I discuss my life and books that I read, authors I love or dislike, post reviews, ask for your opinions, just chat about stuff, and maybe swap a book or two.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What's Happening to the Novel's Future?

The news is saying that the novel is DEAD!!

I read reports that say the novel is dead. What? How can that be? I am still buying them and racking up the $$ on my Visa; aren't you? I mean any "readoholic" is doing the same. And who doesn't love book stores? It just is not the same to use a cell phone to read a book or download it onto the computer. I need that warm and fuzzy feeling I get in a book store. I also need the scones they have there!!

It's no secret that the number of independent bookstores is on the wane. And even big chain stores like Borders are having trouble. Scott Karp, who writes the Publishing 2.0 blog, predicted bookstores would be obsolete in 10 years. That was last year, so we apparently have just nine years left.

Is it time to write the novel's obituary?
More recently, author Richard Laermer wrote that book publishing is dead because editors are too young (oh, please), books are too expensive (maybe), and the publishing industry publishes too many books and spends too much marketing books that don't need it, and not enough on books that do (I'm inclined to agree). Also, the industry generally moves too slowly (I'd second that).

With dying bookstores and publishers, what future is there for the novel?

I predict it will be around for a long time, although maybe not necessarily in the form we're used to.

Though publishers might have to find new ways to make money and structure deals, people have loved novels far too long for them to vanish.A Scholastic project called "The 39 Clues" is already out. This is a 10-book mystery series about the powerful Cahill family; each book is said to unlock one clue (I'm a little worried about the math, given that there aren't 39 books in the series). "Book 1: The Maze of Bones" was written by Rick Riordan, the author of the wildly popular Percy Jackson series. It's likely this will be big with kids. I sure want to read them.

In the most important ways, the future of the novel looks great. People still love writing them, even if they're doing it in their spare time on cell phones, as did the best-selling Japanese novelist. People also still love reading them, as evidenced by the bake sales they'll hold to buy more.

If publishers can't figure out how to make a profit on the novel, that's their problem -- and another story entirely.


Sherry said...

The novel will never be dead to me. I buy them on CD to listen to as I drive, but I also buy them to read -- the old-fashioned way.

D Wright said...

I am always searching for suggestions for good books to read. I too am an avid reader. I love the books by Jan Karon and enjoy her website at www.mitfordbooks.com. Thanks for sharing your ideas. I don't know what I would do without a good novel to read!

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