Autodidact: self-taught


Book News from Tokyo

by V. L. Craven

[This is a post from a previous blog, with a 2012 update. Original date: 21 January, 2008.]

Novels composed on mobile phones top best-seller lists.

Those kooky Japanese. Not only do they top the world charts for cuteness, but they compose novels on mobile phone text pads. Some novels are then published in hard copy form and some of those reach the best seller lists. Amazing.

2012 Update: I wanted to re-post this one partially because of this bit in the article: ““Will cellphone novels kill ‘the author’?” a famous literary journal, Bungaku-kai, asked…” Clearly, they didn’t.

Whenever something new comes along in publishing, doom-sayers declare it the end of literature. They were saying that when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 1440s. Making books widely available would lessen the ‘specialness’ of books and of reading them. Because everyone would be able to do it, no one would.

This is similar to the people that say ebooks will be the end of publishing. There seems to be an assumption that people won’t publish if they’re not going to be paid well. Being a writer means writing whether anyone is going to see your work or not. Very few authors write for a living–they have jobs to pay the bills and anything they receive for writing is a bonus–and so simply having their work published by a legitimate press is worth it. Hell, some people are happy to have their name on the front of a book they paid to have printed and then have to market themselves.

You can’t kill the drive to write and you can’t kill the will of real readers, who will read anything that’s worth reading. I know it’s fun to pronounce the ‘end’ of things since nothing new really happens, but you’re just wasting time you could be spending reading.

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