Sunday, May 3, 2009

It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine…)

blog28 I’ve been listening to dire warnings way too much lately. I’m something of a news junkie (print, web, and television), but I’ve had to cut back on my habit like so many others that aren’t good for me. After all, how much bad news can we take?  The economy is falling apart around our ears, unemployment is up, crime is up, schools are in dire need of funds, there’s swine flu for God’s sake….

For some reason, out of all the negative news out there, the ailing publishing and newspaper industries seemed to hit me the hardest.  At first.

The idea of not having a newspaper to cuddle up with at five A.M. was…disturbing to me. The last 18 years of my life have involved mornings with the newspaper and a cup of joe. I’m a creature of habit.

Bookstores facing bankruptcy gave me chills.

The news of layoffs in the publishing industry, coupled with news of publishers cutting back on their lists or not signing new authors also gave me pause.

I wasn’t even sure what I should feel about this story about a man writing a 100,000 word novel on his cell phone.

Then there was the Kindle. I felt very conflicted about the Kindle. Books on a computer screen.  Hmm. 

But if you think about it, books (or reading, even if you’re doing it on a Kindle or Sony Reader) is an escape. You can’t really read a book and do anything else at the same time. I’ve been to both Borders and Barnes and Noble and they’re crowded with people. People who aren’t at home watching cable news.  People who are drinking coffee and reading newspapers and buying books.

Sales for mysteries and romance are up (both provide excellent escapes from reality.)

And then I realized that it doesn’t really matter what the medium is.  I can change with the times.  If I’m reading my newspaper online or if I’m downloading books, I can adapt.  The important thing is that there are still reporters out there who are uncovering dirt and making sure that I’m informed.  There are fiction writers out there penning books that transport me to another world (no matter how I’m reading them.)  And I feel fine…