Monday musings: On Cyber Monday, books and writing

Share

It’s Cyber Monday, the day when we’re all supposed to head to the online shops and buy electronics. Now, don’t worry—I’m not here to complain about the over-commercializations of the holiday. Not this time, anyway.

But this day every year is a good place to mark the evolution of our market economy. To observe just how much has changed in our shopping and buying habits.

It seems that the growth of digital e-books at the expense of paper has slowed. Maybe we’re reaching some kind of equilibrium.  We’ve learned the relative strengths and weaknesses of each, and are allowing both formats their space.

It also seems fitting that on Cyber Monday, two major Canadian newspaper chains are closing dozens of community newspaper. The owners say that in many communities, declining advertising revenue means the community newspaper business model is no longer viable.

Why not? The easy.analysis is to blame the eruption of online news and entertainment.

It’s an easy analysis, but it’s simplistic.

As many sides as a diamond

There are many sides to this shift. The newspaper industry has been decimated by the public shift online. Hundreds, if not thousands of journalists have lost what on time seemed a great career. Not to mention all the thousands of other Jo’s at a newspaper.

On another side, some journalists have made the shift online, themselves.And for readers, there is a vast  range of choice in new online sources for news and entertainment, and it”s so easy to find the information you want.

On a third side, there’s also a proliferation of “fake news” sources. I don’t know whether the proportion of deliberately false information online is greater than it ever was for print, but there sure is a lot of it, and people sure pay attention.

And on yet another side, there is the tracking by tech and social media companies of everything that we look at, read or buy.

Somebody’s making money. Who do you think it is?

Community newspapers are closing because there just is not enough money in the business. I know from personal experience how much cheaper online advertising is than for print—partly because of lower production costs, but mostly because of the different, per-click model, but mostly because when online advertising began,  no one knew what they were doing.

But someone is making money online. I’ll let you work that out for yourself.

Trying to stay optimistic

For avid book readers, this is a great day. So many of the authors I know are doing some kind of Black Friday or Cyber Monday launches, promotions,sales and announcements. And most e-book prices are a fraction of the cost of paper books.

Yes, there are a lot of really bad books out there. Because it’s so much easier and cheaper to produce an e-book, it’s also easier to find not only bad writing, but books produced by those who obviously have no clue to to format a book, or what punctuation is for. You can usually tell these by the amateurish covers, but not always.

Still, readers have a lot more choice. Which means it’s up to you to make good choices.

Good luck, and happy holidays.

 

 

Share
About Scott Bury

Speak Your Mind

*