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Guest Post: Terri Schlichenmeyer on the Next Decade in Book Culture

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

As we wind down the “aughts” decade, the NBCC seeks the best guest posts about the future of book culture, including essays, interviews and free-range opining. The topic: How do you see book cluture evolving over the next decade? This post is from Lacross, Wiasconsin-based Terri Schlichenmeyer.

It is my fervent hope that “book people” continue to hold dear the paper-and-cardboard BOOK. You can't cuddle up with a computer. An e-reader will never have that book smell we all love so. Browsing via an electronic device doesn't seem very interesting. And it's impossible to page through a piece of plastic and metal. The romance of possibility that is inherent in a book is sorely lacking in an e-device, and I can only hope that readers continue to support the “real thing”.

I can foresee fewer niche books (which is too bad) and fewer let's-take-a-chance books (which is probably good) from the publishing world. I see hardcover books going to mass market faster, and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see simultaneous releases, in many cases.

I see a lot more self-publishing, alas. Heavy sigh.

As for reviewing, I think it's always going to be a struggle to get book columns of worth in the media. Another heavy sigh. To be fair, though, there are plenty of visionaries who see the value of telling their readers (who, presumably, like to read) about a book they'll love.