Critical Mass, run by the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) Board of Directors, is currently publishing a series on The Next Decade in Book Culture.
In a response to Katharine Weber’s bleak outlook, in which she sees converging texts blurring the boundaries “where the conversation about books ends and the book itself begins”, Peter Friedman writes ,
Prophets of doom tend to prescribe remedies intended to recall comforts forever past. That’s why a cultural freakout is not a healthy thing. It leads to bad decisions. Had Jack Valenti and the entire film industry had their way, there would be no VHS machines, no CD and DVD burners, etc., etc. But it turned out that the VHS was the biggest financial boon the film industry had ever experienced…
Like the businesses that once dominated the film and music industries, the monopoly held by the industry over production and distribution is now in the hands of any kid with a laptop. The film and music industries are still making money. But that money is now made in a far wider variety of ways, and is split among more parties. It’s no wonder these industries are therefore decrying their deaths.