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The Future of Publishing
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We were lucky to have a great lineup of guests today—to help us think about the future publishing. Mark Oppenheimer was here with us in studio, and he left behind a copy of The New Haven Review, one of his recent endeavors. The winter issue of the NHR is out now and it features the work of nine writers, three of them from the New Haven area.

Jason Epstein joined us from NPR’s midtown studio in New York. He brought a half- century of publishing experience to the discussion. For more on his thoughts about the future of the book, check out a speech he gave this month at the O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference.

We particularly liked these two bits:

“The radically decentralized digital marketplace has already rendered traditional publishing infrastructure—warehouses, inventory, shipping, returns and so on redundant. Like American automobile manufacturers traditional publishers will persist in their traditional mode as long as they can, but they cannot indefinitely defend their institutions against disruptive technologies any more than the monks in their scriptoria could withstand the urgency of moveable type.”

“The business as it exists cannot survive, but in the miraculous way such things happen, a shining future is at hand…In theory, every book ever published in whatever language can now be stored and delivered in digital form as cheaply and quickly as e-mail…”

But then, Mr. Epstein, as he goes on to mention, does have a personal stake in the success of the e-book phenomenon.

Lev Grossman from TIME Magazine, called in too. In the January 21st issue of Time, Lev made this prediction about the future of literature in a new publishing environment where more writers will self-publish and the amount of literary material will swell:

“If Old Publishing is, say, a tidy, well-maintained orchard, New Publishing is a riotous jungle: vast and trackless and chaotic, full of exquisite orchids and undiscovered treasures and a hell of a lot of noxious weeds.”

Thank you for all of your great calls and emails--it made for a great discussion today!  Tomorrow--US metro areas and a blueprint for prosperity.