Unpacking the bookshelf: after mass marketing

When the internet was becoming commercial, I researched and wrote a multi-client study for the paper industry on the future of paper. In order to understand the consumer economy that drove the advertising support for newspapers and magazines, I researched the history of mass advertising, mass marketing and consumer culture to understand the old system that seemed on the verge of splintering.
Since then, the market for physical goods hasn’t changed as much as the dotcom era promised. But the market for text, music, video and software is changing rapidly. The web20ish cascade of user-generated content is as dramatic and more fun than one might have imagined, despite the bad laws that incumbent industries are trying to use to hold back time.
The scary collapse of the newspaper ad market is happening as predicted, along with a very scary decline of democracy.
I didn’t think that electronic displays would be cheap enough for books until around now. That market still hasn’t gone anywhere. The relationship between pixels and paper has gotten very strange, with books being used by bloggers, mostly as excuses for book tours.

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