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Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters

There’s Too Much Confusion, I Can’t Get No Relief

That’s the world of e-books I’m talking about

Yesterday Joyce  Valenza and I were having some easy internet training for a panel we will both be on. The technology was a snap. But I called her afterword because while it will be easy to speak online, I was not sure what we’d be talking about. She directed me to this terrific post she made in her SLJ blog on September 17 As it happens her blog is a very richly documented expression of — well — confusion. She as a very connected, tech-savvy, linked-in librarian, and me as an interested outsider author are both lost, swamped, overawed and overwhelmed by the spreading world of digital possibility that is no sense digital clarity or, even, digital necessity. There is a sprawl of readers and delivery systems, a wave of ebooks and digital apps, there is a roar of promise of more to come in all sorts of shapes sizes combinations and forms. But wait…

The show now is entirely being run by providers scrambling to claim territory — I feel like we who write books, we who share books with kids, kids themselves — all of us are like the native peoples of California and all of them — the digiteranians — are the Gold Rush, the 49ers pouring down over the Rockies and off of the docks — rushing to claim land and find big nuggets. We’re the ones who used to live here and we have nothing to say. But I don’t accept that. I insist that we need to define what it is we want from the delivery of digital text, how print resources — which, lets face it, are what libraries have, and what, for a good long time, authors will produce — should be blended with digital ones. We need to build a dam, hold back the wave, and define us — then, let them shape what they offer to our needs instead of drowning in their claims, pitches, and hustle to win.

The panel Joyce and I are on is part of the SLJ viritual summit next week, on the 29th. Come if you can. I’ll be speaking for our rights, not their products — at least that is what I think today.


  1. Back on August 23 you wrote The Museum I’d Like to See – Context, and I commented that I was seeing such exhibits in Europe. I’ve posted my blog message today about some of those experiences on It also relates to your e-book post today. It will take time for the technology to sort itself out, so the question we writers face is, do we plunge into the maelstrom now, or wait for things to settle down?

  2. Marc Aronson says:

    thanks for the post — and for the link to your blog. I am particularly curious about that Norman castle that “animates” as you walk through it — fascinating.