It’s the birth of a new era and birth is a messy, painful process.
What is going on besides economic chaos? At the moment many people are focused on the economy and what is happening because of its apparent collapse.
There is another factor in play here as was in the Great Depression. Change. Change in the way we live and do things. When you look at the entities in trouble you can see they all have one thing in common. They are dinosaurs. Huge, unwieldy, and behind the times.
The big change that occurred between the beginning and end of the Great Depression is that the United States went from being a rural agriculture economy with more than half its population directly involved in farming to an urban/suburban industrial economy with less than five percent (now less than two percent) of the population directly involved with food production.
Rather than looking back and mourning what is lost now is the time to start looking forward. It is time to study what is going to change in banking, energy, publishing, stock markets, housing, transportation, and begin to find your place in the new era. It is time to look past the pain and mess of labor and look ahead to the possibilities of the new life.
I am very familiar with one particular industry that is going to come out of this cycle changed beyond recognition; the publishing industry. It has already begun to change in ways that the pundits couldn’t recognize and cope with. When I first began I wrote for newspapers and magazines printed on paper. Now I write for e publishers who use computers to publish their product.
Recently I’ve heard people who are at the apex of publishing say that they didn’t take audio books seriously in the beginning because they were sure they’d never catch on. Obviously they missed the boat on that one.
Audio books are one form of publishing that is growing. It will continue to grow as more and more people do as they are doing in Japan and put their books on I phones and I pods.
E publishing is another area that the big publishers, both newspapers and books, failed to recognize as the future. A few big publishers tried e books, but failed because they didn’t realize one important thing about the field. They could not expect to charge the same price as they did for hard copy. Those who buy e books know just how little it costs to create and maintain books online. They are willing to pay for books, but not the same price as they would pay for a book that is printed, stored and shipped. Besides they already paid for the computer the books is downloaded to why pay extra?
Newspapers also dropped the ball because they didn’t make the shift from paper to electronic in a timely fashion. Others saw the gap and stepped into it. Many of us get our news from our TV’s and computers now. I grab a cup of coffee and sit down at my computer every morning and peruse the news headlines before I get to work, also at that same computer. And there are a lot of you out there doing the same thing.
With this huge shift away from a hard copy product to an electronic one there is bound to be fall out. Some of the giants will not survive. However, a new type of industry will arise out of all this. In fact, it is already here. You are reading this article because various people recognized the new possibilities and took advantage of them.
Now there are places to find information and entertainment that completely bypass the old publishers of books, magazines and newspapers. Advertisers woke up to this and are now aiming a lot of their effort at the people who use electronics rather than paper to get and give information and entertainment.
Some of the most exciting new writers I know of decided to quit waiting on the “system” and went digital. Henry Melton’s Small Towns, Big Ideas is one of them. The best sellers Eragon and The Shack are examples of how publishing is changing. Both found their markets long before big publishers found them.
Amazon led by changing the way we buy books, movies and other things. Why go to all the trouble of going to a book store that may not even have the book you want when you can go online and order it delivered to your mailbox? Better yet, why not get a Kindle and get your book, magazine or news downloaded immediately. You can have hundreds of books tucked in your purse or briefcase ready for you anytime you have the time for them. You can download to your computer, Ipod or Iphone as well and have your books in audible or readable format.
Rather than look back and mourn what is lost start looking forward and see what is going to change in publishing, banking, energy, stock markets, housing, transportation, and begin to find your place in the new era.