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At 5 am this morning, a stranger drove up to my house, got out of his car and walked up to my front door.
Something that happens nearly every day.
This is the insane last step in the almost crazy notion of the home-delivered newspaper.
Hundreds of reporters and editors and then thousands working in paper production, then printing, then trucking, then distribution to the guy in the car and then he drives it to my house before the sun rises. Even if I’m out of town and it just sits there until I get home, even though by then it’s even older than it was when he dropped it off.
Why bother with all of this? Because there’s a HUGE upside in the relationship between a publisher and a reader. The paper has power because it doesn’t need readers for its writers, it has power because it seeks writers (and news) for its readers.
And there lies the future of the book business. Digital home delivery. It’s the best (and only) alternative. Writing for people who can’t wait to read what you write next. And amazingly, you get to deliver it for free, without waking up when it’s dark out.
If you’re intent on trolling through millions of strangers to find a few willing to buy from you, sight unseen, you’ve got a very long road ahead.