Looking both ways

An important part of my job as an agent involves staying on top of the changes in book publishing, including publicity, marketing, and electronic formats. Frankly, I appreciate the current flux that’s sending everyone back to the research and development stages. It’s good to be starting out in the business at a time like this. I have a background in R&D, but I’d overlooked the fact that R&D would need to be continuous for the foreseeable future. The discussions coming through my RSS feed yesterday clued me in.

I laughed out loud when I read the title of David Rothman’s blogpost: “Could Google Editions kill off the traditional e-book? Books in the ‘clouds’” Uh, traditional ebooks? Before any single ebook format or reading device truly managed to dominate the market and earn the designation traditional, Google announced that by the end of 2009 it will launch a new service that will permit readers to purchase and download ebooks that can be cached in a browser and stored in the cloud, according to the New York Times. Perhaps transitional is a more accurate term for the currently available ebook formats. And maybe six months from now, I’ll be a traditional authors’ representative.

On Yen Cheong’s Book Publicity Blog, I glanced through a discussion of the distinctions between the old and new waves of book bloggers. Just when I thought the Internet was the great leveler, people are seriously forming into camps all over again. Fortunately, Edward Champion’s rap saved me from despair. Scroll down to comment #20 and check it out.

I couldn’t take any of the new world order too seriously yesterday, and neither did some pranksters who found their old friend’s status update too profound for Facebook. When she announced that she was “writing about June 4 and Green Forest, Arkansas…” a snarky commenter quickly added, “And the bloody insurrection there when Sonic tried to change from crunchy to cubed ice?” Another wimpered, “I’ve been dealing with those memories for years.” Surely the comments stretch to forty or more today. Because Facebook status updates display only so many characters in certain views, the writer’s full sentiment—“writing about June 4 and Green Forest, Arkansas, when I heard about Tiananmen Square”—wasn’t visible to the readers who tacked on their quips.

By the time I landed at O’Betty’s for a bite to eat last night, I was thoroughly amused and baffled by everyone who seemed to be missing, or ignoring, the backstory.



Mr. Misdiagnosed & Admitted told me that some friends had taken their mop-headed four-year-old son to have lunch at O’Betty’s a few weeks ago. Looking around at the memorabilia on the walls, the little boy, taking it all very seriously, observed, “Look! Princesses eat here.”

I’m just saying…

O'Betty's Red Hot

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