feeding the tired publishing tropesA neat little write-up on GoodeReader proposes that we stop using the words ‘death’ or ‘killing’ to describe publishing events. As Mercy Pilkington rightly points out, authors still write, readers still read, and the death imagery is neither true nor helpful these days.

I agree with Pilkington, but I wish she had gone a step further and called for a ban on some other tired publishing tropes. For instance:

– ‘Winning’ and ‘Losing.’ I find this especially tiresome when it’s used in the context of paper vs. pixel. There is no fight between the two. Readers can and do buy both print and ebooks. Readers can and do buy books from more than one author. Let’s chill on the blood battle metaphors, no?

– ‘New model.’ This irks me because it presupposes that publishing needs to be a static entity—that, now that the old ‘model’ has been disrupted, the goal should be to find a new one to replace it from now on. We don’t need to replace one dinosaur with a potential new one. Let’s just go one step at a time. If something is working, go with it until it stops working, then do something else. If that something else needs to happen a hundred years from now, fine. But very likely, it will need to happen sooner. Be ready!

– ‘Indie.’ I think most authors would be better if they thought of themselves more as entrepreneurs than as ‘authors’ per se, and I think the indie stuff is a smokescreen that prevents them from doing that. I know not all authors enjoy the business side, bit it needs to be treated like a fact of life if you plan to make money at this!

Those are my picks for affectations I would like to see my fellow bloggers grow beyond. Any I missed?

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"I’m a journalist, a teacher and an e-book fiend. I work as a French teacher at a K-3 private school. I use drama, music, puppets, props and all manner of tech in my job, and I love it. I enjoy moving between all the classes and having a relationship with each child in the school. Kids are hilarious, and I enjoy watching them grow and learn. My current device of choice for reading is my Amazon Kindle Touch, but I have owned or used devices by Sony, Kobo, Aluratek and others. I also read on my tablet devices using the Kindle app, and I enjoy synching between them, so that I’m always up to date no matter where I am or what I have with me."


  1. Another loose trope is that screen books and paper books are both identical and distinctly different. All sides flip-flop depending on the feature or market appeal or legal stance in question.

    Comparative media studies contend that user engagements with paper or screen or audio presentation are distinctive and there is also reason to distinguish book, magazine or newspaper engagements. A contention that these and other distinctions can be easily merged and faithfully transacted by screen display alone is suspect. A contention that the multiplex has an eerie complementary relation of components and interdependent prospects is more appealing to me.

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