That Same Old Story

Industrial Remains, © extranoise, Creative Commons Attribution License

So I was venting to a wise friend of mine at lunch about the hand-wringing of publishing with respect to ebooks and other realms in the world of digital.

“Well, you grew up differently,” he said, having a good 20 years on me. We both mean in the technical industry, of course.

“Think in terms of middlemen,” he said. “In your company, there’s no separation between the company and its products. You develop, sell, and market in-house. But in older industries—like manufacturing, and it sounds like publishing too—they sourced those out.”

How weird. That sounds horribly inefficient.

“In a way. But publishing’s reaction isn’t new. Manufacturing’s gone through the same changes, with about the same amount of horror. The car industry, for instance, way before your time. At some point you have to cut out the middleman.”

So when does the kermit-flailing stop?

He just smiled at me and didn’t say a word.

GAH. Old man.