An Irrational Fear of the Unknown
I went on a trip to Disney World last month with my two grandsons, and I had a moment of publishing prescience delivered to me by a 12 year old. It turns out that my grandson has an irrational fear of roller coasters. Many children and even some adults have this fear. There is no definable logic to the fear. It is simply a self-preservation reaction. No matter how many times I softly spoke of the fun he'd have and showed the happy people safely getting off the roller coasters, the unmanageable fear persisted. He expressed a great wish to get on the ride but, at the same time, just couldn't.
The reason I am sharing this with you is that I see the same thing going on in the publishing world of print. There is a palpable fear of the unknown by many senior managers in the publishing industry. It is an irrational fear that, of course, can't be reasoned with. It is a misplaced, self-preservation reaction caused by our journey into the unknown publishing world of the 21st century.
This fear is very oddly compounded by an interesting denial factor. I think I will call it BDS or Blackberry Denial Syndrome. The very same executives that sit in meetings, on trains, and at home reading hundreds of text messages on their BlackBerrys for hours will deny there is a comfort zone for long-form reading in a digital format.
So they prove themselves wrong on a daily basis by the very device in their hands that they use to great effect.