By MOTOKO RICH, writing in The New York Times, March 29, 2009
For those who want instant information, there is no shortage of outlets, from cable news to Twitter posts. For the long view, it was said, try a book.
For generations the publishing industry has worked on a fairly standard schedule, taking nine months to a year after an author delivered a manuscript to put finished books in stores. Now, enabled in part by e-book technology and fueled by a convergence of spectacularly dramatic news events, publishers are hitting the fast-forward button.
In December the FT Press released an e-book edition of “Barack, Inc: Winning Business Lessons of the Obama Campaign” a month after the authors delivered a manuscript. Last month Free Press, a unit of Simon & Schuster, published an e-book version of “Dumb Money: How Our Greatest Financial Minds Bankrupted the Nation” just three weeks after Daniel Gross, a writer for Newsweek magazine, completed the book.
And as the financial crisis was deepening last March, George Soros submitted a manuscript to the publisher PublicAffairs. Ten days later the e-book of “The New Paradigm for Financial Markets” went on sale.
“People can’t wait a year to get timely information on critical subjects,” said Amy Neidlinger, associate publisher of FT Press. “Especially today it’s dated 10 minutes after you’ve just received the first installation.”
Of course many publishers and authors suggest that taking time to produce a reflective work is what books are about, and that they should not succumb to the pressures of the 24-hour news cycle.