John Degen is terrified. He’s scared of the future. I can’t blame him. Change is scary. It has John ranting about all the people who want to steal from him, and not looking at all the people who want to buy…
I’m writing this here, because John doesn’t like me any more. I disagree with him. I’m not terrified of the future. I don’t think that everyone is trying to rip me off. That makes me part of the enemy.
John seems able to only see two points of view. Either you agree with him, or you don’t. If you don’t agree with him, he stops approving your comments. Try posting anything critical to his blog. Very shortly your posts will stop appearing. Send him an email, he won’t respond.
John views things in blacks and whites.
Me? I look at shades of grey. Sure, there are people who will never, ever, pay for anything. But they are few and far between. Most people will happily pay you for something that is worthwhile to them.
Maybe part of John’s problem is a lack of confidence. He might not think that he can produce books that people want to buy. Part of what he writes are text books, which are mandated as part of a course…
When you’ve spent a good part of your entire career working one way, and another option opens up, it is hard to change. In the Twentieth Century we saw jobs like Keypunch Clerks, Telephone Switchboard Operators, Typesetters (for printing presses), and Letter Sorters disappear as newer technologies replaced them.
We’ve seen technologies virtually disappear. Take horse shoes. A friend of mine owns a horse farm. Her and her husband still use them. Almost no one else does. Those who were in the business of manufacturing horse shoes had to adapt.
The same thing happened to long play vinyl records, cassette tapes, player pianos, parchment, and thousands of other technologies. Now it is happening to books.
Sometime shortly, the sales of eBooks will exceed the sales of print books for the first time. My estimate is October 2012. Mike Shatzkin thinks October 2013.
It doesn’t matter which one of us is right to John Degen. John is going to have to change how he works. Because mark my words, one of us will be right. So John had better get creative, and invent a new way of doing things.
Happy Valentine’s Day John!
Tuesday February 14, 2012