In round numbers, five hundred years ago the world witnessed the invention of the printing press, changing the way people communicated. This innovation (along with advances in shipbuilding) ushered in the modern era. There’s a definite connection between the printing press and modernity. Though the technology of printing has advanced greatly in the intervening five centuries, the modern publishing industry has changed little.
Currently, the modern era is yielding to the postmodern era. One of the chief catalysts of this transition is the Internet. The Internet is to postmodernity as the printing press was to modernity.
With this transition, the publishing industry is undergoing dramatic changes, a transformation that literally happens once every half a millennium. However, the postmodern era and the Internet that facilitated it, does not portend the end of publishing but merely its rebirth.
The publishing industry of tomorrow will have little semblance with its predecessor from yesteryear. It will emerge newer, better, and more exciting – for all who are willing to embrace change and hang on for a wild transition.
I, for one, am giddy with excitement.
What do you think about all the changes afoot in the publishing industry? How will it affect you?