By no means am I on the cutting edge of anything. In my literary life, I still haven’t recovered from:
- the loss of my local bookstore
- the disappearance of B. Dalton & Walden Books
- A Common Reader going down in flames
- Borders falling off the map
- Barnes & Noble changing from a discount catalog for remaindered books into the local bookstore
Now it looks as if a Chrome extension has Amazon in it’s sights.
Chrome Extension Turns Amazon into a Catalog for Oyster’s eBook Subscription Service, 1 Feb 2015, Ink, Bits & Pixels
And thanks to the plugins, readers have the opportunity to ask themselves if they really want to buy the book they’re looking at, rather than read it in Oyster’s apps for Android, iPad/iPhone, and their web browser.
I can’t keep up with it all — probably a result of being one of those people who thinks 1990 was ten years ago. To put an even more elderly gloss on my situation, I was fifteen when Alvin Toffler first published Future Shock.
Yeah, yeah, I know: “Alvin who?”
Mr. Toffler enlightened a generation about the awareness of information overload, coupled with the stress and disorientation of continual frequent change. In modern parlance, remember when there were no smart phones to perpetually upgrade? About the only consistent feature of today’s consumer environment is that whatever you’re using is almost guaranteed to be archaic long before it wears out.
Not so long ago, using old stuff just showed you were unfashionable, out of date, unhip. You couldn’t get out of the box, man, because you were the box. At worst, you were L7 (hold up your fingers so that you have your left thumb & index finger as an L and your right ones as a 7 — put them together): a square.
Today, using old stuff doesn’t make you just uncool, it can leave you stranded (hence, why poor people need cell phones). You’d be left out of most loops because not only is your gizmo old (at least by one year), but it can’t connect to anything. Just try getting that information off those floppy disks in the bottom of that drawer, or watch a VHS tape. How much longer will anyone bother producing devices to play DVDs or CDs?
Given Amazon’s effect on businesses-you-can-actually-drive-to, I don’t know that I’ll mourn the company’s possible twilight (although I love being able to find esoteric items that businesses-I-could-drive-to never had). The effect of always expecting future shock, though, has me already wondering not only what’s going to replace Oyster, but who is going to make it worthwhile for authors to produce any new work.