I was walking through the aisles at BEA (BookExpo America — the biggest book industry event of the year) a few weeks ago; the show had been cut down to two days from the usual three. The show has changed radically over the years. It used to be a place where publishers could meet with […]
That sound you heard recently was the iPad landing in America and thousands of bookstores and comic book shops across the country closing and locking their doors for the last time. That’s what happened – right? The world changed overnight and everyone is reading all their books, magazines, comics and newspapers on a digital devices.
So, wait – that didn’t happen? I can still walk into a bookstore and pick up a chunk of dead tree and enjoy a good read? Cool. The world of publishing is changing – just not as fast as everyone thinks.
The biggest change is that for the first time in publishing history consumers are being asked to invest in an expensive piece of hardware to allow them to read a book. Yes, audio books require either a cassette or CD player, but those were devices that most people already owned. To read an e-book you need a new device to view the books. Reading a book on a computer just doesn’t cut it. A book is easily portable so the device also needs to be portable.
I was moving an exercise machine – The Total Gym -down to the basement on the sly. My wife and I had discussed moving it from our bedroom – she wanted to keep it there and I wanted to move it to the basement. So, of course I moved the machine behind her back.
Now, the thing weighs about 90 pounds and has ropes and pulleys so it’s awkward to carry. As I wrestled with it coming down the stairs, I missed the last step, and landed on my left ankle. As I went crashing to the ground, the Total Gym followed and came down on my chest…just as my wife was turning the corner. She screamed thinking I had died. When she realized that her idiot of a husband was alive, she started yelling at me for being an ass for carrying it down on my own and reminded me she didn’t want it moved at all. Even though the machine was still on my chest, my wife was crying and yelling, and my ankle hurt like hell and was ballooning up to the size of Schwarzenegger’s bicep, all I could think was; “Shit, the Neil Gaiman book is coming out soon – I have too much to do.” Then I asked my wife for an Advil.
2003 turned out to be an important year, for me and for graphic novels. DC Comics was publishing a BIG book, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman: Endless Nights. It was Neil’s return to Sandman comics and it was not a collection of comics, but an original graphic novel. There was the idea floating around the office that maybe, with Neil’s success with his novels and the fact that American Gods had hit the New York Times Bestseller List, we could have a bestseller on our hands. It was of a dream of mine, to have one of our graphic novels become a best seller.