The Machine that Destroyed the World…Maybe

Once upon a time, there was an argument about a machine.  It was a very complex machine, and one that not many people understood.  The amazing part about this machine was that it was able to do in a period of days or weeks what had taken years to do previously—make a book.

At that time books were precious things, written by hand, ornamented and treasured, works of art that few people had the money to own, or the education to appreciate.  Many people said that the machine was blasphemous and would destroy the world.  Others said it would never catch on—why print so many books, when no one could read them?

No one wanted to read, the nay-sayers insisted, therefore the machine’s efforts would be wasted. 

But once the books began rolling off the press, something happened.  Knowing that books were available at a price that made them available to more than the priesthood and the aristocracy (think of a book sold for the equivalent of a trained professional’s annual salary) suddenly there was a market.

Many say that electronic publishing is flash in the pan, that it’s the hard copy books that hold the attention and the love of millions.  Others push back as hard as they can and try to make sure that the machine of former years reigns supreme.  They fall just short of using the word “blasphemy.”

But the electronic age is here to stay, and just like the printing press if writers don’t adapt we’ll vanish into the pages of history.

People will continue to tell stories, and I’m sure that in future generations other things will take over and once again people will be screaming about the changes.

Change is inevitable.  Change is what writing is about.

Once upon a time, someone had something to say.  It’s that simple.

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