Sunday, February 27, 2011

liber - ation

I’d like to suggest an alternate meaning and etymology for a familiar word:

liber – ation n : Freedom achieved by way of a book or books. From Latin liber, book.

This could be used in at least three ways:

  • The liberation achieved by some poor schlub who writes a book that becomes a bestseller, as a result of which he’s liberated from all financial worries and the need to work for the rest of his life. (Of course this refers to a generic poor schlub, not to anyone in particular, and in particular, not to anyone you know.)

  • In the late 1840s, the uprisings across Europe were fueled in large part by books and pamphlets spread clandestinely across the continent. In the 1920s, Hitler’s Mein Kampf played the same role in Germany. In the 1960s, it was the little red book, The Sayings of Chairman Mao. In the 1970s, the Iranian revolution was inflamed by cassette tapes of speeches by Ayatollah Khomeini which were smuggled into the country. Right now, in North Africa and let’s hope soon further to the east, the spark has been provided by the Internet.

    But dictators can and do cut access to the Net. Suppose that in the near future cheap e-book readers proliferate across the world. Then inflammatory books can be spread everywhere, providing a spark to the tinder that dictators will be unable to halt.

  • And now for my favorite.

    As I’m writing this, Muammar Gaddafi seems to be in control only of a shrinking portion of Tripoli, the capital of Libya. The triumphant forces of liberation control the rest of the country and are closing in on him, and the end of his tyranny seems to be imminent.

    At the very same time, the big, traditional New York City publishers are watching with alarm as the rest of the country slips from their grasp. From small beginnings in cities and towns across the nation, the liberating force of self-published e-books has taken control of ever more territory. Day by day, the oppressive, stultifying ancien régime is squeezed into a smaller space and weakened, until in the end the heavy weight, the literary destructiveness, of its dead hand will be thrown off entirely and it will be, to complete the metaphor, decapitated.

    In other words, it will be smashed. Dancing in the streets, the now-free throngs will shout their new slogan: Smashwords!

Whew! I need a cigarette!

8 comments:

David Crookes said...

It good to see that finally the cold dead hands of the big six publishers are being forced, finger by finger,to loosen their choking grip on the free expression of writers everywhere.

David said...

I like that image. I may even steal it!

Drake said...

The dreams I always had were of seeing my books in print in the bookstores with loyal and avid fans buying copy after copy. Now they are, but it's all online ebook-selling and reading instead. Just had my biggest month ever for ebook sales after my first year online. Looking forward to an awesome second year.
Don't forget my ebook review blog: http://www.apexracing.com/arriveanddrive.html

Jacob M. Drake

Drake said...

Ahh...stupid mistake huh? Scratch the above link. My ebook review blog is: http://crescentsunspublishing.blogspot.com/

Oy vey,

Jacob M. Drake

David said...

Drake,

For some years, I did have my books in print in bookstores and on the racks at the local supermarket. Unfortunately, what I didn't have was the avid fans buying copy after copy. Eventually, the publishing industry abandoned me. But I got back at them by abandoning them first. Or before I was officially told that I had been abandoned, anyway.

I think I've also had my best month so far, based on my guesstimates of the numbers. May 2011 be spectacular for all of us. May traditional publishers come crawling to us, begging for mass market paperback rights. "Oh, all right." "How much do you want for the rights, m'lord?" "How much ya got?"

Has Mark Coker mentioned your review blog in one of his updates? It looks familiar, but in case not, be sure to tell him about it. When he mentioned this blog post of mine, it got tons of hits.

Linda Pendleton said...

It is an exciting time in publishing. Thanks to Kindle, Createspace, Smashwords, we have our power back, and we don't have to ask permission to share our works with the world. I love it.

Leonore Dvorkin said...

Oh, thanks for posting, all you others! David and I LOVE reading about other people's success with and enthusiasm for e-books and e-publishing. For some reason, even though my own two books are not selling all that well in e-format, just as they did not sell all that well in print format, I do not feel jealous of other people's success with their own e-books. Instead, I see that as validation of this wonderful new format. And we LOVE our new $139 Kindle!
My two books: APART FROM YOU (a novel set in the late 1960s) and ANOTHER CHANCE AT LIFE: A BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR'S JOURNEY. Each one is just $2.99 in e-book format.

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