This quote is from the January 30 issue of Time Magazine (US Edition), in the article Charles in Charge: The Secret of Dickens' Enduring Success
(pp. 52-55) by Radhika Jones:
The Dickens bicentenary--which is being celebrated worldwide with festivities ranging from art exhibitions to performances of his work to Twitter book clubs--coincides with another leap in literary culture: the rise of electronic text. The debate about e-books still focuses on the merits of page vs. screen. But the far more profound effect will be in disrupting the numbers game of literature--the game that began with the Victorian fiction boom, which began with Dickens.
E-books are changing the idea of being in print. Publishing was designed as a Darwinian process in which authors compete to be printed and then thousands of books go the way of the passenger pigeon. Digital files, self-publishing and print-on-demand technologies raise the possibility that this natural selection will be warped. "Our traditional definition of going out of print means that the content is no longer accessible," says Kelly Gallagher, a vice president of Bowker, a research firm that tracks the book industry. "The digital version lives in perpetuity." In some ways, that's a good thing--for writers, going out of print is a little taste of dying--but it exacerbates the problem of quantity. Yes, electronic books can linger unread, like any remainder hardback. But they are much easier to publish (and self-publish), store, circulate and revive. And copyright law, which always plays catch-up, will have to account for that.
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/ar...#ixzz1kxYSP4lb
Jones goes on to discuss the rise of a "prize culture" and the field of literature, leading to publishing as it stood before eBooks, and describing how now, with our social media (including Mobileread.com), everybody's a reviewer and a critic.
Most of the rest of the article is about Dickens' enduring popularity.