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Here’s an insightful, stick-with-you essay about what happens to books in a digital world.
For me, there are two key insights:
There are three stages–pre-artifact (there is no book yet), artifact (here it is) and post-artifact (what happens now? not much). Craig argues that all three stages are changing, and quite dramatically.
The second insight isn’t as delineated, but it comes down to this: what it means to be an author is changing for the first time in a hundred years. This is a profound shift in one of the most leveraged professions of all. Instead of there being a clear box around who an author is and what an author does, that box is becoming blurred.
In the rough illustration below, I show the before and after of this blurring. In the first case, the yesterday case, the author has a job. She writes a book.
In the second case, the tomorrow case, the author is the ringleader, cheerleader, ringmaster, organizer and jack of all trades of a process that might not ever end.