In A “Paperless” World

Dad was well down in northeast Pennsylvania. He’s missing Mom as always, but there is nothing any of us can do about that, of course. We’re in the Catskills – finally:

You may know I get a lot of inspiration from this area:

As a result, I love to write about it as background. For example, I had “Robert Rutherford” grow up hereabouts in the 1780s – and end up living here again after he had spent many years in Western Europe:

[Excerpt from Conventions: The Garden At Paris on Kindle for iPad. Click to expand.]

Speaking of mail, after we arrived on Monday afternoon I found this among piles of advertising and assorted “junk” mail in our bulging post office box. It’s not a free paper. Obviously The Mountain Eagle sent out free copies looking to attract subscribers:

[Photo by me, 2017.]

It’s really trying to swim against a raging current in publishing a local PAPER nowadays. Even the big guys like the New York Times find the going tough with PAPER. As a society, we just don’t read PAPER in the numbers we once did.

Technology has changed the reading world. Electronic is most everything now. You’re here obviously via the internet – on your PC or mobile device.

Yet even after a really good go, and getting readers from all over the place online, an online-only effort at a Catskills news site, the excellent Watershed Post, which was started by two women entrepreneur journalists around 2010, has nearly ceased operating. Needing to eat and keep a roof over their heads as well, they found they could not exist solely from online advertising. Subscriptions – meaning “paywalls” – it seems are vital.

It’s not just newsPAPERS either. I don’t really buy PAPER books any longer. Most of those I do buy are “prestige” items or academic efforts:

[On a living room shelf. Photo by me, 2017.]

For instance, I have long loved the Library of America series.

[On a living room shelf. Photo by me, 2017.]

By the way, I left upstate New York writers Fenimore Cooper on top of a volume of Washington Irving on a “Catskills” spot on a shelf as something of a personal “laugh.” They were essentially contemporaries. (Irving was somewhat older.) Cooper felt Irving was a “lightweight” as a writer, but never had the guts to say it to Irving’s face; and evidently Irving never knew Cooper felt that way about him.

If you are an author, you have probably already learned what is purchased are usually Kindles and similar e-versions. Unless you are a Lee Child or a J.K. Rowling, PAPER fiction doesn’t really sell. One reason – and a not unreasonable one – is probably because PAPERbacks are sometimes far more expensive than are the Kindle versions.

To me, though, for it to be a “real” book there has to be a PAPER copy SOMEWHERE. Not everyone likes e-books. And suppose Amazon just disappeared without any warning tomorrow and all of our Kindle books vanished from our devices?

It’s $50 for a yearly subscription to that Stamford-based Mountain Eagle newsPAPER. (Stamford is up the road a way from us.) I’m considering it to help out, but I don’t need even more PAPER filling my post office box when I’m not here – and especially if the news is weeks or even months out of date by the time I see it. The post office people are nice, but they also do get a bit annoyed at you when your box gets overfull and they are forced to store your stuff in the back someplace.

However, if they have an online subscription? Maybe then…

Have a good day, wherever you are in the world – and reading this courtesy of the internet. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Author: โ€œConventions: The Garden At Paris,โ€ โ€œPassports,โ€ โ€œFrontiers,โ€ and โ€œDistances.โ€ British Airways frequent flier. Lover of the Catskill Mountains...and the 1700s. New novel of 1797-1805, "Tomorrow The Grace," due out in 2019.