The Mac App Store’s future of irrelevance — Apple trying to morph the Mac into an iPad-like appliance could either be a huge mistake or a huge success. At the very least, it’s their biggest gamble. How many current Mac owners will put up with sandboxed apps, crippling or obliterating functionality they’ve depended on? Where will those Mac owners turn for an alternative?
Goodreads decides readers are their problem — a site I’ve never joined because I readily admit I suck at reviewing books. What is there really to say past “I liked it” or “I didn’t like it”? Why should I read an exegesis by someone I have no experience with to guide my book decisions? And now it seems the very reason for that site’s existence — letting readers discuss books — is being subverted for other, unknown, reasons. Where will Goodreads users turn for an alternative?
Another one bites the dust — a lament about The Writer magazine going on “hiatus” (cutesy talk for out of business). Back in the day, I bought The Writer and Writer’s Digest. I preferred the latter. Which is still available in digital form. So there is an alternative. Anyway, with that huge archive, someone could really cash in. If I had the capital, I’d snap it up. Anyway, real beginning writers will seek out advice. Those who only indulge in NaNoWriMo will continue to just dump their egregious shit on Smashwords and KDP whether or not The Writer or Writer’s Digest ever existed.
‘There will be no more professional writers in the future’ — the killer quote: “I’ve been making culture professionally for 20 years.” How full of himself can any one writer be? Apparently more full than even Aaron Sorkin. No professional writers, seriously? Maybe no writers who think they are entitled to an upfront payment because they believe they are Special Snowflakes. That’s just fine by me. Fiction has traditionally been done by writers who needed to write, not writers who thought it would fill their bank accounts. And that writing has traditionally been done without any upfront payments. Getting the damn writing done was their motivation, not an advance that would allow them to lounge around and lose that motivation.
The moves by Apple and Goodreads are just more examples of how the new Digital Elite are as bad as the Traditional Elite. They want to pen us all in and milk us as much as they can. We’re wallets to them. Nothing more. All of this is driven by their fear that they might somehow miss grabbing another nickel. Strangleholds do not succeed. They create resentment and inspire rebellion. I don’t give a damn how big your company is. It’s vulnerable. Detroit got smug and Japan nearly killed it. There will always be another “Japan” out there to do it to your company too. Here’s a hint: Linux. As both Apple and Microsoft lock down their systems, someone is going to step up to create that consumer user interface Linux has never had in order to provide the traditionally open computing experience. And don’t laugh at Linux, either: It’s probably driving the smartphone you have. Do you see now?
And fear drives the Traditional Elite these days, as those two posts about writing show. They had a stranglehold on information for so long that they’ve gotten the idea they were entitled to that position. The Detroits of information are now facing Digital Japan and are crying just like Detroit did. Let me clarify things for you right now: If the free and low-priced books via KDP and other outlets didn’t exist, your stuff still wouldn’t sell big. Stop deluding yourself that it would. There would still be television, radio, movies, games, and much more that people would devote their time to instead of your work.