I was interviewed for this excellent, thoughtful article on the future of the book in USA Today.
“I think book is a verb,” Doctorow says. It’s what you’re doing when reading something like a narrative story or biography or academic argument in big chunks in multiple sessions, he says. “We need to find ways to insert the verb of book into technologies that arrive,” Doctorow adds.
Doctorow admits he hasn’t yet learned a lot from his fans about what books can become. But there are some interesting hints. For instance, he’s certain that the free electronic copies are helping increase sales of hard copy books, which is the opposite of what publishers and authors fear.
“For almost every writer, the number of sales they lose because people never hear of their book is far larger than the sales they’d lose because people can get it for free online,” Doctorow says. “The biggest threat we face isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity.”