GoodEReader.com attended the Harriette Austen Writers’ Conference this weekend in order to get a feel for what the writing community is hearing from the digital publishing industry. Throughout the two-day event, one comment kept coming up from agents, editors, writers, and organizers: “You’ve got to interview Doris Booth.”
“Six years ago, Doris was asked to speak about the future of the publishing industry at this event. She got up and told us in no uncertain terms that the bookstore of the future is going to be an empty room. Readers will walk in, choose a book they want to read off a digital computer screen, and the book will print out and be bound while they had a cup of coffee. That was six years ago! I don’t think even Doris knew that only six years later there would be kiosks where you could print out books or where you could borrow ebooks. She has an incredible sense of foresight for this whole industry,” says Mike Cummings, husband of presenter and author Paige Mercer Cummings and a multi-year veteran of this conference.
After hearing such praise for someone who obviously has her finger on the pulse of the publishing industry, I had to meet her. I waited patiently at the time and place we had chosen, and was awestruck when a kindly-looking senior adult slowly approached me and introduced herself in the softest voice I’ve ever heard from anyone in the industry. This woman looked like she would be far more at home sipping tea in an overstuffed chair surrounded by her treasured volumes, rather than telling the 200-plus participants of a widely respected writing and publishing event that digital is here to stay.
“I guess I’m a little bit of a visionary, but that just means that for a long time no one will know what I’m talking about,” Booth laughed when asked about her stance on the trends affecting ebooks and digital publishing. “Authorlink was in the top one hundred businesses to adopt print-on-demand models, and now we are very involved in ebook production, in actually taking it from a document file to converted distribution.”
Authorlink is the award-winning online news, information, and marketing service for editors, agents, producers, writers, and readers, meeting the needs of more than one million unique visitors per year. From its launch in 1996, it is one of the widest-reaching publishing and writing communities on the Internet. As the editor-in-chief of Authorlink, Booth presented an eagerly anticipated session at the conference, How To Be Your Own Ebook Publisher.
The digital publishing visionary jokingly refers to the fact that she is on the “bleeding edge” of digital books, “because no one really knows exactly where the trends are taking us.”