Tools of Change Conference, Day 1
Tools of Change Conference on Flickr

Tools of Change Conference, Day 2: It's the End of the World as We Know It and I Feel Fine

I'm so far behind on writing up the specifics of the conference that I'll put that off for later and instead give a sense of the milieu of the conference. I have a press pass and so I get to use the press meeting room, and as the conference progresses we exchange news about disasters in the publishing industry happening off-stage: the Anderson distribution system goes down (is that, like, 25% of mass market distribution, just gone?); restructuring at HarperCollins, etc. (My editor, Diana Gill at Eos, still has a job; her assistant editor, Emily Krump, apparently does not.) Huge changes in the industry happening hour by hour as we meet. 

If these huge changes in distribution mean what they appear to, in a year there may be no mass market books published anymore except "leads."

I was first involved in electronic publishing in the early-mid 1990s when I wrote and worked for Eastgate Systems, purveyor of fine hypertexts. For the first time, I think I'm beginning to see something that I think can really make the eBook model begin to work, and I'm coming away from this with a huge number of ideas, and a few things to just go home and do that I know will work.  

I see for the first time a possible large-scale economic model which can work with the innovations of the hypertext fiction movement of the early 1990. I see other great things that can be done. For better or worse, the large columns of the publishing edifices falling around our ears are clearing the way for the electronic book.

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