>Exeunt the Annus Horribilis

So, 2009 ends with a whine, which is probably pretty apt, all things considered. From my perspective – which is, admittedly, a wee tad biased, it’s been a true Annus Horribilis (with options on a ‘orrible anus as well) with the constant question of whether my day job will still be there, economic woes, the publishing industry playing lemmings when not doing things that – at best – leave people scratching their heads and wondering where they can get whatever these people were on at the time.

Since I have issues with late nights, I’m not likely to do anything dramatic like stay up and watch anyone’s fireworks or anything, unless I get sucked into the current WIP.

So… gazing into zee crystal ball (genuine imitation crystal, $1-99 at Wal-Mart!), what do you see for 2010?

I see ebook readers becoming a more mature technology, maybe one showing up that actually does what I want it to. EBooks becoming more prominent – and more contentious. Someone is sure to try to claim that they own ebook rights for anything they published in dead tree lo! these many years ago, especially if the author has sold the ebook rights to someone else after untold years of out of print-ness (if they haven’t already done so, which wouldn’t surprise me).

I’m not sure when it will happen, but someone, somewhere, will go big with DRM-free eBooks, and begin the slow cracking of the DRM Curtain (this is a little like the Iron Curtain and the Bamboo Curtain, only messier and full of holes – if you know where to look and what to do with the finger you poke through one of the holes). By the end of the ‘teens, eBooks will probably be bigger than dead tree, or close to it, and will be predominantly DRM-free.

What are your predictions? And how happy will you be to kick 2009 out the door in the hope that 2010 will be better?

P.S. Me being me, I’m a tad reluctant to say 2010 couldn’t be worse – if I say something like that, the universe goes out of its way to prove I’m wrong.


  1. >Hmm, polish up the crystal ball. Okay, so it's a cheap tourist shop glass float, it'll work just fine.I see the sea lions have left SF. Sure sign of an earthquake in the near future.Either that or the eating's better somewhere else.(Polish harder) Try for decadal brilliance (everyone will have forgotten in three months, max, anyway).Oh, the economy. Still bad, but as long as the .gov either shores up the banks or pays off on insured accounts, we won't be looking at anything as grim as the Great Depression. And the banks will be in even more trouble in twenty ten, as housing values continue to deflate, and commercial property continues its downward spiral.Global Warming has taken a death blow. Whether deserved or not, we don't know, because just because they cherry picked data and biased their write ups, they could be right. Or we could be headed for a new ice age. We will have a better idea by the end of the decade. (How's that for a prediction?)On publishing, did I hear something about more e-books sold for Xmas that paper? Well, gifts, but you've got to start wondering if the tide hasn't changed. As more people get readers, or read on their computers, or give it a try because of getting a gift, bit by bit, the e-book format will be as important as paper, by the end of the decade.As the light fades from the crystal ball, I see a mighty battle, something about mid-term elections, brutal campaign rhetoric, lots of accusations of rigged elections, marches and protests. Riots. Perhaps there's hope for 2010 after all.The crystal has gone dark. I see no more.

  2. >I noted a 5 point something earthquake in San Diego a couple days ago. That makes somewhere on the order of 6 noticeable earthquakes over the last two years *while* I'm actually in California. So matapam's comment about the sea lions in SF may be more correct than I want it to be. 😉 I will say 2009 ended on a good note. I got home and DST was waiting for me. For 2010 I'm hoping to get a novel written. The idea for one is building slowly, but surely. I'll probably buy an eReader myself since webscriptions keeps taking my money anyway. I'd make comments on 2010 being better but, like Kate, I refuse to tempt the demon Murphy that way (and I don't have the proper would around to knock on).Happy New Year all! Where some of you are it's already New Years day isn't it?

  3. >Indeed. Every one of the last few years, Steve and I have said that "This year is GOT to be better." Nooooooo. It doesn't. ::crossing fingers:: Here's hoping however that this is the year that marks an upswing in our luck, fate, or whatever you want to call it. We have been consistently disappointed in the direction of recent previous years. So, yes, some whining happening.I am however an optimist at heart. Remember, never give up and never give in. I see the possibility of wonderful things ahead for everyone. May you all experience your most rocking year! Bring it on, 2010!Linda Davis

  4. >It would be really great to see a new paradigm for the publishing industry.One that is fairer to authors. (Wow, wasn't that a surprise). After all, there would be no publishing industry without us.

  5. >What does zee crystal ball see? I'm hoping we'll see a consensus finally in e-book formats much like the music industry finally did with regard to mp3s. It would also be nice if the publishers would finally realize DRM does more harm than good. Unfortunately, I'm afraid we're going to see more idiocy from the industry for another year or so. More publishers will try to limit what books come out in electronic form and when. Then they won't understand when their profits continue to decline that their own business plans are to blame. But all of this will result in a reformulation of the industry one that will, hopefully, be better for readers and writers.E-book readers, whether dedicated readers or part of a smart phone, etc, will take more of the market share. That will see more and more authors offering their work online, bypassing traditional publishing routes and hammering in yet another nail into traditional publishing's coffin.Now, putting on my rose colored glasses, I see publishers doing a 180 and realizing that e-books are not sounding the death knell for dead tree versions but do, in fact, increase sales of hard copies. DRM will become a thing of the past. Brick and Mortar bookstores will finally start listening to their customers and not to a computer programmed by someone in another part of the country when it comes to what books to order. Most of all, I see both you and I, Kate, as well as Matapam finally having books published. I know which vision of the future I'm hoping for ;-p

  6. >Nit to pick: Isn't "exeunt" the plural form (i.e., shouldn't the title read "Exit Annus Horribilis")?Love the site though. Just discovered it via the link from Instapundit!Hope 2010 is better.

  7. >Matapam,Maybe you should have got a rose colored crystal ball? Nah… Rose colored stuff gets kind of old, especially when it never actually happens.

  8. >Chris K,That's about a half dozen earthquakes too many, in my view. I kind of prefer the ground under my feet to STAY under my feet. Good luck with the novel. And don't tempt Mr Murphy too much – remember, he was an optimist, too.

  9. >Linda,There's something to be said for being too bloody stubborn to give up when you're beaten. Here's hoping 2010 doesn't need that kind of stubborn.

  10. >Rowena,A publishing paradigm that's fair to authors! Good grief! The world will end… er… I rather suspect it wouldn't be an entirely bad thing for the current publishing business model's world. Um.What to do, what to do…

  11. >Anonymous,Pick away – it figures when I went for the form that sounded snootier I got bit by technical accuracy!Welcome to the Instalanchees. Sit down, have a cuppa, and enjoy the show. It gets a tad weird here, but most of us don't mind that.

  12. >Amanda,Funnily enough I see more stupid decisions, too, most of them based on the fear of losing control. Unfortunately, the people making the decisions haven't figured out yet that they lost control a long time ago, and all they're doing is making it worse for themselves. I do hope to see e=presses growing and thriving – and even treating authors with something resembling respect. There's already a hefty segment of romance that's being served by e-publishing: it would be nice to see the same kind of forward thinking applied to SF/F.It would be nice to finally break that bloody wall down and get a book sold. We shall see, I suppose.

  13. >Kate! Shudder! I have enough trouble with terminally cute creeping into my writing already. If I got a rose colored crystal ball I'd start thinking Hello Vader was sweet!

  14. >Hey – good riddance to 2009 I say. My predictions? Hmmn Alien visitations will remain a mystery, fusion power will still be just over the horizon – and I will continue to accumulate odd socks damn it!

  15. >Matapam,NOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooo! Save us all from teh uber-cute!Hello Vader is EVIL. More evil than Darth Vader.

  16. >Chris M,Most definitely good riddance! I can now hope my employer starts to claw back from what was a ghastly year and maybe even head back towards profit territory (when there's that much red ink you start to wonder if said employer will still be around in 12 months – and the truly sad thing is it's not really anything they did wrong. They're simply on the wrong end of a long chain, and the customers (we're a business-to-business company) aren't buying).Fusion power seems to be eternally around the corner, although there are a couple of low-cost ventures that seem to be doing well (Polywell is one, IIRC). Alien visitations seem destined for mystery, but then the sneaky buggers are like that anyway.For the sock issue… have you checked your washing machine for a sock muncher? Or an interdimensional portal to the Land Of Single Socks? Something eats them and has an aversion to paired socks. My husband gets around this issue by buying large quantities of identical socks. There's always one that can't be paired off, but at least he has pairs.

  17. >I am very optimistic. I think it extremely unlikely that everyone here will be dead before the year is out.If things turn out unpleasant on a large scale, I expect to continue my plan to get what entertainment and enjoyment I can out of it. My predictions for this year are mostly the same as for last year.I guess I feel apathetic about the change in year. I always have hopes, but few of the phenomena involved match the calender year. Many of them don't even work on a yearly timescale.I would have to be very unfortunate to lose all of my wonderful identical socks in 2010.

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