Tuesday night I heard a talk by Rainey Knudson, the founder of and, until very recently, the publisher of Glasstire. The talk was about Glasstire, which she founded in 2001. She mentioned that there had been 37,000 stories published in Glasstire. When I heard that, the first thought that came into my mind was, where are the Glasstire books? With that much published material, one could compile a "Best of Glasstire" book that would be excellent. In fact, you could probably create separate books for every major city in Texas, using already-published articles and reviews to paint a picture of a local art scene. I would happily read a book of Christina Rees's occasional rants.
I asked about this and Knudson said that the idea had been discussed before but that they decided that it would be too expensive and difficult. And publishing is difficult. It's a good way to turn a large fortune into a small fortune. (Of course, there are ways around this--Glasstire could team up with an already established publisher like Texas A&M University Press or the University of Texas Press.)
But her response made me think about how book publishing has declined. Not that there aren't still plenty of books. (I recently moved and by far the worst part of it was moving all my books!) But the number of books published has declined. For example, it used to be that every year, tens of millions--if not hundreds of millions--of phone books were published. These books kept printers all over the country busy and profitable. When was the last time you saw a phone book?
But books still get published. A book still seems more permanent than a collection of blog posts stored electronically. (I say this acknowledging that I'm an old guy who comes from a time before the internet existed.)
With Rainey gone, the publisher of Glasstire is Brandon Zech. Christina Rees is still the editor. Between the two, they have the skills to edit a book. And working with a publisher like the two listed above (who have the expertise needed to design, manufacture, market and distribute a book), the Glasstire book series could be launched. So Glasstire, what do you say?