A holiday tale

‘Twas the night before eBooks, when all through the House
Every intern was stirring, and starting to grouse.
The print books were shelved in the warehouse with care,
in hopes that big orders soon would be there.

Editors were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of best sellers danced in their heads.
Prices were stable, their lists were a snap
So they’d settled their brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out among blogs there arose such a clatter,
I leaped to my desk to see what was the matter.
To Techdirt and Booksquare I flew like a flash
And learned from the master, Richard E. Nash

Bloggers had written for years in the know
That the coming of eBooks was much, much too slow
when, what to their wondering eyes should appear,
but a digital reader with a screen all too clear.

The reader’s inventor, so lively and quick,
I thought for a moment it might be St. Nick.
As Kindle debuted, in numbers they came,
And market by market knew Bezos by name

“Now Sony! Now Kindle!? Now, iPad and Samsung!
On, iPod! On, iRex!? (That last one found hamstrung!)
In this holiday season, devices to all!
Now read away! Read away!? Read away all!” ?

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky
so up to the mountains the sales they flew,
See the IDPF chart, and Amazon too.

Publishers balked, as sales broke through the roof
Looking they were for additional proof
That eBooks would do more than just stick around
And in a flat market they might even abound

But as eBooks grew, a burr in the foot
Would libraries abscond with all of the loot?
And as readers asked for options to borrow
Some publishers left them little but sorrow

Still reading persists, the options keep growing!
Like Readmill! And GoodReads! The seeds they are sowing!
ReadSocial, and Cursor, with the promise of more!
Small Demons the latest to come to the fore.

While publishers hold on by the skin of their teeth
Digital books seem like berries, not holiday wreaths
An uncertain future, an emptier belly
“Let’s fill those e-readers with Percy Bysshe Shelley”

Still, Bezos could be a right jolly old elf,
I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
Could a wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Help us past this moment of dread?

But Bezos spoke not a word, went straight to work,
filled all his readers, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
Denied us good data, though his stock price still rose.

He sprang to his website, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
Happy reading to all, and to all a good night!

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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