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A publisher can produce 1500 different books, great books, important books, groundbreaking books that could change the world for what it cost to make the Green Lantern movie. The publisher could pay each author a $75,000 advance and produce the titles (enough to fill several bookshelves in thousands of homes) for the cost of one summertime clunker.
Some are saying that the future of books is in the direction of apps, videos and other multimedia productions, entire experiences that express an idea.
The problem: none of these can be created by a single individual.
The magic of a book is that it is largely the work of one person. Yes, she’ll need some help from editors and distributors, etc., but they sometimes come and go, while the author remains.
It’s entirely possible that a new art form (one that’s smaller than a movie and involves text) may come along, but I’m betting we’ll see more of a flourishing on the ebook side, a place where the individual voice remains the key building block.