The world is changing, yes, I know, it always is, but in many ways at this juncture of space and time, change is speeding up and seems to be happening around us as we watch. “The time is out of joint” said Prince Hamlet and cursed his fate that he “had to set it right.” I don’t feel the need to set anything right, I am just a minuscule microorganism in the quantum vat of broiling time, but I do feel a need to try and be aware of the waves of change, even if only in some vague and uneasy way. Change is changing change in dizzying fashion.
This is nowhere more apparent to me than in the area of the ever-changing world of the Internet because I am involved in bringing my new novel “Leela’s Gift” into the flow of virtual words in cyberspace. Twenty ago when my political memoir was published, it garnered attention in the print world of book reviews (there was no electronic world), being widely reviewed in prestigious and well-known places. One thing lead to another in an orderly and time-honored way. Ten years later I adapted a personality system for educators and parents and published these two psychology books. In the fine print of book contracts the words “electronic rights” were now seen, and (of course) belonged to the publisher. Who knew what was coming? While reviews on the young Internet were welcome and easily published by web–site customers, print reviews still had some cachet.
Now several years later (change is exponential) the landscape is completely different. Aside from the venerable “New York Times Book Review” print reviews of books (and indeed newspapers and journals themselves) are disappearing, although sometimes there are two–three sentence blurbs on books in trendy magazines. Yet, paradoxically, the world of words and books is exploding, growing like a virus on steroids inside the box on your desk, or sitting on your lap, or indeed being held in your hand.
This I know from my recent foray into the world of eBook publishing where scores of web sites all over the globe that have no general name recognition electronically carry hundreds of thousand of book titles that you or I can download almost instantaneously at the click of a button to one of many hand held reading device and often for free.
Amazon.com rules the publishing waves. Hand held reading devices, as has been promised for twenty years, will soon be the most common way to read—anything. Even an elderly friend, who is by choice a technological Luddite, uses and loves her Kindle. If she does, so will we all.