“Loving to read as a strategist”. Episode 20. Publishing Industries and the Internet Part B.
Have a magnificent weekend ahead. As promised in our last episode, today is the turn for the second section (Part B) of the chapter 19 “Publishing industries and the Internet”. Let´s begin.
Before continuing with our reading, please download the slides that we have prepared for you. These are the base for the strategic reflections that I will write afterward. You can print them in PDF and take notes or ask questions.
Consequences of a dangerous forced transition.
A digital transition that has been imposed for the wrong reasons (pursuing economic profits at expense of the traditional economic models of society, or by vengeance, or because of economic interests from the tech sector) not only disrupts the markets but interrupts the natural cycle of evolution of our civilization. A forced transition is like obliging a 12-year-old princess to take decisions for her kingdom (at such immature age). All the changes that we have adopted since the invention of machines, let´s think from the times of the Renaissance; were assumed at our own human pace. The spreading of the inventions took their time naturally (instant messaging applications, viral tweets, cars, or planes were non-existent). Even travelers took the time to move using horses or ships for trading. Erudites from western European countries had to travel to Persia or to China, install there, learn and understand before diffusing those innovations. Time allowed people to develop businesses that were profitable. There were natural barriers to entry. In the case of the publishing industries, the Gutenberg press was the commencement to distribute printed material and books to a petit portion of the population: those who were able to read. The vast majority didn´t have access to schools, and the reading abilities were only for the savvy and the elites. Most women were not allowed to study at universities even until the end of the 19th century. Only some female exceptions could make it in Europe and the USA then. In developing economies, the situation was worst: as a matter of fact, still, in the 1970s decade, a microscopic number of ladies had access to superior education centers.
If women had no access to superior education (sometimes not even secondary or high-school), they also couldn’t role-model high literacy at home. And if they did, the limitations were abysmal.
Reaching higher levels of literacy is directly correlated to a continuum of practice: a lifetime process of reading book experiences. University enables one to attain higher literacy levels, but it is not the only way. What helps you to be a literate level 5 individual is constant reading (of books). That is why self-taught readers without a doctorate can beat a Ph.D. Nowadays, almost every woman can attend university, if they wish to. With exception of some countries such as Afghanistan, in which women are suffering so much. In general, this was the context of the Y2K when the Internet epoch started for many developed nations. During the next years, the Internet and communication companies were made ubiquitous through smartphones and mobile communication devices. Since the XXI century, these corporations and the technological advancements linked to them, have forced us into a civilization transition for which all humanity has not been and is not ready yet.
When a civilization transition driven by commercial market intentions occurs, that is the exact moment in which humankind must pause and review the fundamentals of that shift. Particularly when the change is driven by the private sector, and the public regulators are running behind. Especially, when the change is damaging the brains of the little portion of people who were able to begin the path of higher levels of literacy.
There are two main consequences of this forced transition that we can observe in every single industry on earth:
- Elevated and “sometimes” unreasonable distrust in technologies from the keepers of the traditional standards,
- Indifference and fretfulness towards anything that is traditional and hand-made by the emerging digital pioneers of the new standards.
These two opposite extremes of philosophy, one in which the old disbelieves with high skepticism all the new; and the other extreme in which the new digital doesn´t care for the good old standards. Countries that have imposed the digital are reaping the consequences of it on youngsters. Countries that have kept the traditional solely, are also living without some benefits of the digital era. The result is: two contrary views of “making money” in painful confrontation. The fight between the two conflicting business models is bitter, sometimes with cruelty against innocent and guiltless brainiacs who are in the middle of both views. I consider one of those positioned in between. This antagonism is destroying the illustrated intellectuals from every discipline who have decided to stay in a middle ground. This opposition is happening: in which the oldies are trying to keep what is noble from the past, which is a correct thing; meanwhile, the young immatures are pushing forward under wrong premises and tons of mistakes. Read slide number 7, please. The risk is that in the middle of the battlefield, unscrupulous groups have noticed it, and are feasting economically from the wrong business models of the inexperienced.
The critical issue with the publishing industries (including books, newspapers, and magazines) in the middle of this forced transition.
The crucial problem is old cancer. It is nothing new, adorable readers. The issue goes back to the times when people were unable to read, it rewinds to the times of Gutenberg or beyond. Reading mediums (books) have existed for all of us since then. But in the process (since the 1500s), it has always been a tiny infinitesimal amount of people who could literally read well. In consequence, the critical issue of book-related industries is that people weren´t able to read well before the Smartphone, and right now, a minor percentage of excellent readers is going backward because of excessive utilization of digital screen tools. And the Internet came to shake up that hardship. The Internet has been a mechanism to tell us that our readers can´t read with at least a Literacy 4 or 5 (according to OECD categories), and that is why our civilization is so pleased with the digital substitutes of reading.
In this context, the corporate strategy for the book reading/learning industries, must answer the question: How to create a culture of reading books for the majority of our population?
The main challenge.
In the past, the challenge was to teach everyone on earth to read and write. That was the goal for more than 500 years. Today, the challenge is to create a culture of reading books at the Literacy 5 level for all. In every single country on earth. As a priority, that challenge requires several prerogatives: to heal the brains of Generation Z which have been damaged because of the digital addiction to excessive technology. Then we have to avoid repeating the mistakes done during the last two decades with the next cohort of kids who are not born yet. Finally, Gen X and Millennials are also required to invest time in developing the capabilities to read well.
The solution to the book publishing industries will require setting up boundaries, compulsory structural regulation of the digital platforms, and patience to install a culture of reading books in the majority of the population. Helping reading teachers to read satisfactorily is just the first step, so they can teach our kids to read well too. Parents also will need to learn to read skillfully, so they can help their kids to do so. Educational institutions are required to expand subjects of reading. The publishing sector industries (including authors) are required to participate in the intent. An integral corporate strategy as this one will pay off in 30 to 60 years (3 generations ahead).
Why the self-publishing model has organic flaws that need to be addressed.
Slide number 9 explains the main factors that require a profound review of the self-publishing book companies. I encourage you to read it, please.
An opportunity for human progress and well-being.
A behemoth crisis of excessive disruptive technologies in the information industries has offered us an opportunity for awareness. It is like a new enlightenment season. Probably the enlightenment was postponed 400 years ago, and just today we are opening our eyes to that critical issue of our humankind. That is why we can´t proceed into the digital-powered technologies era as we were galloping into it before the COVID-19 pandemic. If more than 90% of our global population can´t read well, it is not even a good thing, not even in dreams to flow into making everything digital, including money. It will take at least 3 generations to fix that our people are not literate enough.
Announcement: Our next Tuesday´s publication is “The information that we read”.
Strategic Music Section.
Music Reading chill-outs
Today´s musical reading counsel closes the meaning of reading fluency. We have explored detail by detail what is the meaning of it. We become fluent readers when we can read texts accurately, automatically, and with the appropriate prosody. For those adults who have great difficulty understanding books or long-read texts, we truly recommend you find out which is your level of Literacy in your native language. If you are between levels 2 or 3, that means your literacy ranges between 4th grade to 8th grade. Once you accept that, even if you hold a university degree, be sure that your literacy progress has been reverted or it is hurt by the excessive use of digital technologies. Only once you know, you will be able to embrace the problem. It wouldn´t be prudent to force you to read complex books of Literacy 5, so you must start with the books that belong to the Teens and Young Adults categories.
Every bookstore or marketplace or library can recommend you several options (fiction or nonfiction). In addition, if you never learned to develop your own prosody in your K 12 education, it is never late to begin. Start reading aloud. Engage in assisted reading. Within your book club, read loud in front of the rest members of the club (once a week). Each of you can read a piece of text, listening to the differences in intonation from other fluent readers. Adopt your own pace, your own melodic chorally cadence, and modulation. Repeat at home. Poems are amazing for creating prosody in your brain. As a core remediation course in every university, a reading clinic class, or a core reading program (of at least one semester) must be implemented, particularly for those with struggling reading skills. These reading core courses help to build self-esteem much more required to ignite faith in ourselves as good readers again.
Our music for reading today is a video of one hour from Jacob Ladegaard, a danish young pianist https://jacobspiano.com/
He plays the piano with a Roland RD-800 stage piano. He uses software instruments (VSTs) to generate the sound meaning that we listen to, that doesn’t come from the keyboard. Can you distinguish the difference between software and a real piano?
See you next Tuesday 22nd of November, with the 21st episode of the saga “Loving to read as a strategist: The information that we read”. Thank you for reading to me. Blessings and enjoy your weekend.
Sources of reference are utilized today.
None. All the content is of exclusive origination of Eleonora Escalante Strategy. Exception: The OECD literacy proficiency among adults figure of slide 13. Source: https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/sites/1f029d8f-en
Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. Other types of illustrations or videos (which are not mine) are used for educational purposes ONLY. All are used as Illustrative and non-commercial images. Utilized only informatively for the public good. Nevertheless, most of this blog’s pictures, images, or videos are not mine. I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.
Number of words in this article: 1,950
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