Michael Shatzkin ended his 2010 predictions for the publishing industry by saying, “The big meme coming out of 2010 will be ‘what is a book?'”
I have been thinking about that question a lot in 2009. I pulled together some of those thoughts for a Pecha Kucha presentation I gave in August. Shatzkin’s post pushed me to pull the slides back out, record the audio, and get it posted for everyone.
The executive summary: We don’t all agree on what a book is anymore, and 500 years of meaning is colliding with 21st century advances. I wonder out loud about the need for new vocabulary to describe the book. Until we figure it out, there is going to be confusion, angst, and missed opportunities.
Interestingly, Don Clark at The Wall Street Journal write today about potential market confusion heading into the Consumer Electronics Show about what the difference is between a netbook and a smartbook.
Publishing isn’t the only industry having problems with the words they use.