Most know I love watching the show Younger on TV Land and this season I’ve been super behind. I finally caught up on all episodes this weekend and one of them hit home.
Let’s rewind a few years…
Like thirteen years…
I worked for one of our local newspapers here in Savannah and had the pleasure to attend a conference in Chicago for a week. In my mid 20’s needless to say, so imagine how excited I was to fly to a new state and learn about what’s coming in the world of newspapers. It was an amazing experience, as every morning and evening, I got to look out my hotel window and see the Chicago Sun-Times building before me. Yes, I was beyond excited about this, and I understand it’s corny to most – but to me, it was like winning the lottery.
Okay, let’s skip to the outcome of this conference…
When I returned I had to translate the information to my bosses on all the great things I learned.
I learned ONE thing…. One major thing…
Print was going away and digital would be the NEW thing… If your newspaper wasn’t online, it needed to get online…
Now, let me explain I hadn’t published my first book yet at this time, nor did I think I would EVER do this. My life and career at that moment were in the news, advertising, and marketing. I took this information and set it in the back of my head for a very very long time.
This weekend watching Younger they were talking about how print was dead… Apps, online, and all things digital were the new in thing. They even showcased a local brick and mortar bookstore closing down. As an author, I see this daily. I notice the lack of print sales and the uptake of digital clicks. I take part in social media, and not face to face signings. Growing up you couldn’t stalk an author on Facebook, you had to wait to read it in the newspaper, receive a flyer, or notice the sign at your local bookstore.
So what’s this mean for us?
When was the last time you visited your local bookstore?
When was the last time you felt a book in your hands?
I had to stop and ask myself these very questions, as it’s been a long time for me – as I’m sure it’s been just as long for most of you.
The best thing I loved about this one episode, was how a title that was said to not meet the digital world’s market – actually did amazing and won an award. That caused me to laugh a little more than I probably should’ve, but when you’re told a certain book will not do well in the market you understand what that means.
Is it about old media or new media now?
Does old media go?
Where will this new digital world take us?
Are we ready for the new media to take over?
Where does this put our stores, the classic reads, the love of literature?
I’ve watched small presses close, been a part of one closure and it’s a scary thought to what the future holds.
Every release for me I get excited, but, it’s a totally different feeling when I get to hold my baby and smell the pages. Call me old fashioned but the touch and smell of those first pages opening up is something a digital world could never give me.
I’m not here to re-write the past, I’m here to create a new one… The world that still offers compelling words that reach from the pages of a book as they leap into your heart and soul. That’s media… That’s what should matter… That’s reading; either with an old fashioned spined book or a flat digital device.
And for the record, I haven’t read an actual newspaper in years. I read it online, and I have to admit that I’ve contributed to the fact that old media just might be a dying breed.
Now if I only knew how to keep it alive, then all would be well in the world of old and new media.
Keep those episodes coming Younger.
From the desk of A.M. Willard