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Where I Talk About the Future of Books in a Semi-Non-Boring Way

Literary Agent Steve Laube talks about the hyped-up notion that “print is dead.” In movies agents end up behind enemy lines, often wounded, spying, wisecracking, and listening for details of what is happening. So, reliability and all that. 


Laube argues that, while things are definitely changing, the notion that print books are over with is silly. He employs all caps, which I assume he doesn’t like to see in proposals.

“I see the royalty statements. I know exactly how many digital versions of my client’s books are being sold. And while there are a lot more sold than there were two years ago (of course there would be) the volume is still less than 1% of the print version sold. LESS THAN ONE PERCENT.”

He even notes that CD sales are still strong, even though digital music is (obviously) popular and growing more so. I know we’re all trying to figure out what kind of relationship there is between what has happened/is happening to the music business and book publishing. His article is informative on that front. Read it here.

Bottom line: printed books are alive and well, and will be for at least a while. To that I say, “Yay,” and “Pip, pip!” And, lastly, “Tally ho.”

OK, may have overdone that.

Printing Press

Here’s a picture of a Kindle being made. Oddly enough, they are manufactured using very old printing presses. That is also, in fact, where they get their name: Kindle. The fellow what operates the press is named “Kindle B. Rhinelander.” He has, it might surprise you to learn, a mustache.

Do you think printed books are on the way out? If so, do you care one way or the other? Do you like money?


  1. #1- No. I’ve said it once, and am about to say it again…

    the day I read a book from a screen is the day that I can’t get it in print. And even then, I might just opt to not read it at all.

    #2- Yes I do, we get along just fine when we chance to meet. It’s not often that happens, but always a fun time.

  2. As I’ve said before (to anybody who would listen), I *love* my Kindle and would fight anybody who would try to take it away from me! That said, I want all Rabbit Room books to be in *print* form, so I can actually hold them and enjoy the covers in color! I have the Wingfeather books on my Kindle AND in print version…and print is better b/c of maps & illustrations (which might work great on the KDX, but I have the smaller K2). Kindle AND books in print…the best of both worlds!

    Yes, I like money…and I have much less of it since purchasing my Kindle and becoming addicted to Amazon’s 1-click buying feature…

  3. it’s good to inject a little humor into the whole “book vs. e-book” fiasco. the fact that books are still dominating digital versions isn’t surprising and will probably remain so. i just can’t figure out why everyone thinks it must be one or the other. Why can’t we live in a world of digital and print? there are some books you just need to hold in your hands and highlight the mess out of. and there are also times when, whether economically or ergonomically, it’s easier to purchase that book digitally. i love my kindle but i still have lots of books and like it that way. good post.

  4. Kevin– You are such a curmudgeon. And yet, I can’t help but love you.

    Cheryl– I hope you buy my book in Kindle, print, and scroll versions. The scrolls will have the very best maps. 🙂

    Loren– It’s a flesh wound! Say that to my face!

    Mark– I agree with you ten trillion percent (quite high). From now on, you are King Solomon.

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