Friday, August 9, 2013

Books Aren't Going Away

Books Aren’t Going Away
By Brad R. Cook

A publisher has folded, more conglomerates are merging, and another bookstore has turned into a dollar store.

Run for the hills!

In a few years, I will either get to smile triumphantly or hide my head in the shame of my wrongness. But I’m going to make a bold statement – Books aren’t going away.

Ever since I became a writer and started on this publishing journey, people, from industry experts to the talking heads on tv have told me that books are dying. It made me sad, I like books, and made me wonder why I even wanted to get into this business.

But I say NAY… yeah, I said nay, I’m a historical fantasy writer, so I use nay.

I’m not an expert, nor do I have a magical publishing crystal ball, though, that would be really helpful. My evidence is the entirety of human history. You might have just heard the boom from me slamming that book down on the table.

Stories will never go away. Since we all started sitting around fire pits hundreds of thousands of years ago – maybe longer, I’m certain Neanderthals told a mean tale about their hunts – we have told stories. Some real, some made up, some meant to entertain, others meant to teach a lesson. One thing all humans share is a love of the story. Whether it’s the tale of a real person, or just the makings of a good popcorn movie, we love the told tale. We’ll sit there and listen to a storyteller, read tens of thousands of words in a book, or watch lights flicker in a darkened room. All to soak up the magic of an adventure we experience without fear.

Books and the stories they contain guide us, define us, bring us joy, sadness, and enlightenment. Books are the basis for tv shows, movies, and even a few memes. None of that is going to change. Movies might be flashy, and tv shows might get most of the story, but a book still gives you the most detail, the most emotion, and the most control over a story. That’s why they are such a great foundation for all the other platforms.

Paper books may one day sit only in the collections of the wealthy, just like they began, but books will remain. We may read them from our tablets, phones, or even have them beamed directly into our heads… oh, school would have been so much easier.

“I know Shakespeare.” – Neo

Okay, so maybe that’s still a few years off, but my point is not. Books in some form or another will remain. They’ll still need writers to pen those books, plus companies to edit, market, and distribute these books. But it may not be a pen that writes them; technically I have never penned a book, so change has already happened.

Ahhh, run for the hills… it's a great place to write.

Beyond the E-Book, what do you think is next for the book? Let me know in the comments.

I’m hoping for holographic books, where it beams an image of the book out of my phone. They’d have moving covers too. That would be cool.

Brad R. Cook is a historical fantasy author and President of St. Louis Writers Guild. Please visit , follow me on Twitter @bradrcook , or my tumblr page Thoughts from Midnight


  1. I'm still busy being fascinated with ebooks, and being able to adjust the type size. Where they will go? Who knows. I think the main changes to come will be in the area of reading devices, and in publishing. I think reading devices will improve, and I think publishing will continue to get better and easier.

  2. I love books, have always loved books. I like the feel of a book in my hands, I like the smell of a new book, or the atmosphere of a book store. Going into a store like Best Buy for instance to shop does NOT hold the same fascination for me.

    I don't even want to hazard a guess as to what is next for books, but there will always be those of us around who want to own books in print. Ones we can pull out of the bookshelf at will and read again and again, or flip to that favorite passage to savor. One of the books I was able to purchase contains, within the text, copies of letters written to the author by C. S. Lewis. I would never have found this book outside of the experience of browsing in a bookstore, because I didn't even know of its existence.