Backlog, Media, Inevitability

In my recent predictions Manga Therapy noted that e-manga is a blessing in a way for fans because you don't want to fit 20 volume collections into a small apartment.  I think he not only hit on something, he hit on something that is necessary.

Right now in the 21st century we have more media available to us than ever.  This is a great, but it brings forth the simple factor of "where the hell do you keep it all?"  Right now with all this media at our fingertips, with this huge backlog of human history, and new stuff coming out all the time, an enthusiast for literature, comics, etc. could quickly end up in a scene out of "Read or Die," surrounded by expanses of books.

The huge backlog of human literature, from shojou manga to the Confucian Cannon virtually requires that it be available, well . . . virtually.  There's no other way we can keep up, get a hold of things fast, or store it all.  Fortunately, we're evolving towards e-book delivery.

A few speculations:

  • There's a chicken-or-egg effect here as well.  The internet has made people vastly more aware of available works, and the desire to get them has increased.
  • I think electronic books in some format would have come about one way or another simply because people want access to literature of all kinds, and with more available, there need to be efficient ways for it to reach people.
  • Consumption and buying habits haven't been analyzed nearly enough for my tastes.  There's a lot to learn.
  • I wonder if there are measures for the "endurance" of literature over time and what it could tell us.
  • The "all-you-can-eat" pricing model of books may become more an more efficient for some publishing companies.
  • As the backlog increases, I can see this being a driver of innovations and e-purchases.  I know it has been for me, and I'm arrogant enough to assume my experiences map to others.

How do you think the vast, available backlog of literature and works affects publishing and culture?

Steven Savage