Every week at Clarion, Shaun Farrell of the podcast Adventures in Sci-fi Publishing would pop by and interview the instructors, then in the final week he interviewed us, the Clarionites. You can listen to the result here.
Be aware, I have not yet listened to this myself. The thing they don’t you when they let you in, is that leaving Clarion is PAINFUL. Imagine making eighteen best friends and then losing them all on the same day. Thats the last day of Clarion in a sentence. Add in my new found longing for the blue skys of California, and I’ve been pretty miserable since my return. I almost wish Clarion 2008 had collapsed into internecine squabbling and awful cliquiness so I would now have some hatred to buffer me against the pain, but no, I love all of my Clarion friends equally. Consequentialy, its still a bit too raw for me to listen to everyone on that podcast just yet. (Yes I know, beneath that British stiff upper lip I’m just a big softy)
But as the pain of Clarion withdrawal has lessened over the days, I’ve realised that far from being an end, Clarion is really a beginning for all of us. No force in the verse will keep me away from at least one con a year where I can hook up with as many Clarion alumni as possible. And I’m going to carry on reading, critiquing and writing for our online Clarion group, and staying up late to IM accross the Atlantic. And I even feel an extra incentive to scale the heights of Mount Publishing, just to get an American book tour.
Or rather not. Today over at the Guardian, Jack Schofield asks if the Kindle ebook reader is becoming Amazon’s IPod. Schofield argues that it may be newspapers, not books, that lauch the e-reader revolution and draw the Kindle up to IPod status. But as Schofield himself points out, its more likely that e-books will proceed down the path they have already established, on general purpose portable media devices – PDA’s, smartphones, and even IPods themselves – rather than dedicated readers like the Kindle.
After some consideration, I’m no longer expecting an ebook or ereader revolution. Ebooks will slowly grow in popularity as a format, and while there may be a few minor or even major casualties in the print sector, publishers will reach the common sense realisation that it is to their benefit to provide their content in as many formats as they possibly can. The idea that a brand like the Guardian exists purely in print, or even on the web, is already becoming more and more difficult to sustain. Brands, be they national newspapers or bestselling authors, are going to make their work available in every format. I’ll be very surprised if major novels aren’t simultaneously released as print, ebook, audio, blog-serialsation and the rest within the next few years. And in coming years the number of possible formats will multiply massively, until the central function of a publisher will be making contet available through them all.
Of course, the ugly head or Digital Rights Management and Intellectual Property is the boggie man in the corner of my utopian vision. I wonder how long it can be maintained, or will it even manage to cripple the media entirely as it currently threatening?