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6/13/2006 

The future of books

By its very nature, blog is the media for niches - be personal view of the world, or be detailed full-coverage of a narrow products & services. Is this character makes blog a good candidate of published books? Apparently some people think so. Bob Young, CEO of Lulu.com ( a print-on-demand, self-publishing house) predicted that the future of books belongs to "niche-busters" -- books targeting a niche rather than mass market. He made this prediction after observing the life-expectancy of a bestselling novel has halved within the last decade.
The plummeting life-expectancy of a fiction bestseller, in my view, reflects the personalization trend of book reader’s tastes and interests. This is much like the general personalization trend of other products & services in the market place. For book publishing, as long as the cost of personalization continue to decline (electronic self-publishing) and selection/filtering technology (search engine) continue to improve, more and more of blogs will turn into books, and some will become niche-busters.

I agree with you, that the market for books nowadays is becoming more "niche-oriented." Every time I walk through my local bookstore I see tables covered with books on fad diets, religious issues, and now political pundits are really getting in on the publishing game as well. The sad part is that fiction, especially literary fiction, is on the decline with most readers. With television, high-tech games and computers, people don't have the patience for a long novel with any literary merit.

I talked about this exact issue in a recent blog post of mine - that reading of literary fiction is declining, yet the number of people writing fiction is on the increase! Check it out at:

Brad's World

Great blog! I added it to my favorites!

There will always be a market for books and bookstores. I like to feel the book in my hands and sometimes I like to just grab something off the shelf.

But, the next generation might not have the same sentimental attachments to the paper form as I do.

Interesting post, but I agree with Budd - books and bookstores aren't going away anytime soon. At least for the present time, I don't think the market segment of people who buy best-sellers is the same as the segment of people who are bloggers. Eventually they might become the same group of people, but that's going to take a long time.

As a young member of society, and viewing the even younger, I fear this very real possibility. Sure, I love to read books. I definitely prefer them to blogs most days. The rest of my generation may not agree. It's because of Web 2.0 that we're becomeing this mass mind, and the only entertainment we can find is through connected to the greater consciousness that the internet has become. Oi vei. I hope that my generation won't be the ones who have to reminisce about books when we're bluehaired and all the books have been replaced with blogs. If it has to be that way, I definitely will reminisce my ass off.

Really neat BLOG, I'm going to blogroll you!

Great blog and needed! Keep up the good work!

Looking for information and found it at this great site... » » »

Where did you find it? Interesting read » »

Keep up the good work »

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