On The Subject of the Future of the Printed Word

While I’m here (before I resume my task of breaking the back of this chapter) (I’ve succeeded in smashing its kneecaps; the back awaits….), two pieces worth reading on the subject of, um, reading. And writing.

First, this in last Sunday’s New York Times Business section, in which columnist Randall Stross asks if books will be “Napsterized.” The, uh, punchline comes at the end. Yeah, I’ll start giving it away alright. Just as soon as I win the Powerball.

Second, Anne Trubek weighs in at Good on the subject of “speed publishing.” Anne is a terrific writer, and I have nothing to add to her comments. Except to ponder my fate as a wordosaur: a dying species that needs years, not weeks or months, to study a subject and then write something coherent about it. Sigh.

Tip o’ the mug to Astute Reader Dexter for reminding me of the Stross column.

2 thoughts on “On The Subject of the Future of the Printed Word

  1. Trubek’s article reminds me of what we call the “triple constraint” in IT project management. There are usually three constraints for a project: good, cheap, fast. You can only ever have two of the three. If it’s good and fast, it won’t be cheap. If it’s fast and cheap, it won’t be good. If it’s cheap and good and it won’t be fast. I see a similarity between the fast and slow writing “movements” here, too. I think we need a mix of fast and slow. Maybe fast writing is the “new new journalism” and slow writing is what it always was, plain old hard work. There’s room (and a need) for both. :0)PS I tend to fall more naturally in the fast camp but I’m always grateful for the, what did you call yourself? A word-a-saur?

  2. What a great analogy. And the idea of the “new new journalism.” Sound bites on paper? Or, er, screen?Of course what I wonder (and fear) is that the brains of young folks — people who’ve grown up with a cellphone in one hand and a mouse in the other — won’t have the brain structure for “slow” writing; meaning they won’t have the brain patience to read long texts. (Experts keep saying that kids who’ve grown up as digital natives actually have different brain structures than old farts like me.)


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