Thinking Of The Future

January 12th, 2005 · 3 Comments
by Booksquare

For a moment there, we thought we’d give Sara Nelson a chance to settle into her new job, make some changes, that sort of thing. And maybe it’s because, for some reason*, our well-used copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was not where it’s supposed to be. The other four or five books in the trilogy were easily located, as were the Dirk Gently books. But the original is not to be found. At least before six p.m. this evening.

So, we thought (recalling that our brakes are being surgically repaired), we have choices: a) punt — we’ve certainly read the book often enough to fake our way through our bookclub’s dissection of the story; b) find a copy of the BBC production script and pretend that’s good enough; or c) buy an ebook. As we have bought and read many ebooks in the past, this was the easiest solution.

Or so we thought. After going through the circular logic that is digital rights management to “register” our Adobe Reader (which did not make us happy as yesterday we had to reinstall Acrobat because it just plain stopped working properly. For no reason. And, by the way, we have a fully licensed copy of the software, so WTF?). This required far more nonsense than necessary, and had we not been faced with the possibility of embarrassment, we would have quit the project. Note to there is a better way.

So, Nelson. She’s looking at the future and making a list. And we’re sure she has great ideas, but anyone who says this about ebooks…

I don’t know yet. I did a lot of coverage of electronic publishing when I was, and while I do believe that it will be the way that some books will get published and read, I don’t know if the time is right just about now.

…is possibly missing the point. Because, as our little story illustrates, the books are already being published and read. The issue, the real issue, is indeed rights management (yes, Secret Agent #1, we read and are working on our response to yesterday’s story. Never fear!). How can publishers and authors protect their rights while making experience easy for readers? We are not new to this technology thing, and, frankly, we were baffled.

We’d probably go on longer about this subject, but we’re sure Nelson has our number if she has questions. In the meantime, we’re going to pretend to work while actually reading. Ah, finally life is as it should be.

* – Generally, this reason is us loaning a book to someone and forgetting, but it could also have something to do the boxes and boxes of books we possess versus the limited amount of time we have to go through each and every one of them.

  • Spotlight: Sara Nelson – The new editor-in-chief of Publisher’s Weekly’s talks about her new job, the Internet, and the future of publishing.

File Under: Books/Mags/Blogs

3 responses so far ↓

  • Brenda Coulter // Jan 12, 2005 at 3:53 pm

    Booksquare, I don’t see why you’d have any problem faking your way through a bookclub discussion of H2G2.

    As long as you don’t forget your towel.

  • booksquare // Jan 12, 2005 at 4:43 pm

    Thanks for the vote of confidence. Towel is packed. Now to figure out the perfect food. My bookclub has very few rules: the wine must match the book (or not), the food must match the book (or not — KFC and Chinese noodles fit into any reading scheme…who knew?), and the discussion must be lively. Usually, that’s my job as I’m the only one willing to slog her way through some of the more questionable choices on the list (g). Of course, in this case, I feel it’s incumbent upon me to shower scoren on any member who didn’t read…

  • Susan Gable // Jan 13, 2005 at 6:04 am

    Did you know they’re making a movie of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?