Saturday, June 02, 2007
Print Ain’t Dead – It Just Mutated
© Copyright 2007 Ray X
Beware. The “Print is dead” meme is on the loose again.
Recently a bookstore owner in Kansas City, Missouri was suffering from a surfeit of used books. Since he couldn’t give them away, he decided to burn them. According to the news story about the incident, the owner said that people don’t read anymore. When someone dies, it was observed, they usually leave behind five TV sets and three books.
Well, I don’t print think is dead. I read more stuff than ever, but not packaged in the usual mainstream hardcopy formats. I still have piles of books and magazines around my apartment, but added to the mix are printouts, corner-stapled compilations produced from the Web.
Using my computer I put together my own news zine, selecting just articles I want -- “comping,” if you will. ThanX to Bloglines I can check on various blogs and other sources all in one spot. If an article grabs my attention, I copy and paste it into a wordprocessing file, reformatting it as needed. I might spend a couple of hours reviewing all sorts of stuff, winnowing what I really want to read. Then I print out my self-made compilation that sometimes runs to 20 pages or more.
I know I could save time and physical space by reading all the stuff on the Web, but I’m a pager, not a screener. I like to lie in bed and read; the squatting juggernaut that’s my desktop computer ain’t suitable for that activity.
Obviously, I’m not alone when it comes to comping. It’s no wonder why newspaper, magazine and book sales are declining. It’s not competition from TV because that medium has also been losing eyeballs. And it’s not only a cost factor, i.e., I’m cheap. If something is worth the price, I’ll pay for it. But I don’t think Fortean Times – a good publication – is worth $12 (US funds) or whatever it’s going for this month. It’s all about content. And I find articles online that are just as informative as what I can read in FT.
Some writers lament that all this free content on the Web is hurting their livelihoods. I can sympathize, but since I’m not an established writer, I “give away” my writing online. And while generating income from my wordsmithing would be great, I have one major goal as a writer: to be read. Since the gatekeepers in mainstream publishing have never been impressed with my efforts, here I am.
All I can hope is that people out there are comping my words and enjoying them as part of their perusals.
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Posted by Ray Palm (Ray X) at 6:54 AM