It’s not just me…

Stephen Matchett, writing in The Australian on Saturday, takes on the Angus and Robertson debate, echoing many of the sentiments I’ve expressed earlier. As he says:

Retailers cannot be expected to stock books they do not expect to sell, however. And 15 years ago this is where the argument ended, with publishers and booksellers enjoying an iron monopoly on the distribution of information in printed form.

Where we differ is his apparent suggestion that books can be replaced by the web in its current form. Whilst his main example (public policy) is a realm where there is robust web-based discourse, I still argue that books play a different role. They slow the conversation down, and allow deeper insights in the matters at hand. Books should still be published – there is a desperate need for ideas and authors who have devoted enought time, thought and energy to writing a book about those ideas. But books don’t have to be printed.

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