Repeating History

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The modern paperback is born. The price, one-fifteenth that of a hardcover, worries publishers -- and writers.

"The steady cheapening of books is in my opinion a great danger."--Harold Raymond, publisher

“It is…a great mistake to imagine that cheap books are good for the book trade.”--George Orwell, writer

In the first twelve months, paperbacks sell 3 million copies. By 2002, paperbacks will sell 600 million copies a year.

"...people want books...they want good books, and...they are willing, even anxious, to buy them, if they are presented to them in a straightforward, intelligent manner at a cheap price."--Allen Lane, paperback publisher


24-hour news TV goes on the air. The first, CNN, is called "Chicken Noodle News'...'a minor league video ticker tape'."

"We will stay on the air till the end of the world and then we will cover the story and sign off playing 'Nearer My God to Thee.'"--Ted Turner, CNN founder

By 1991, 1 billion people around the world watch the Gulf War on 24-hour news TV.

"The very definition of news was rewritten -- from something that has happened to something that is happening at the very moment you are hearing of it. A war involving the fiercest air bombardment in history unfolded in real time -- before the cameras. The motherland of communism overthrew its leaders and their doctrine -- before the cameras. To a considerable degree, especially in Moscow, momentous things happened precisely because they were being seen as they happened."--Time


I grew up in a house overflowing with books, with parents who wrote them. I remember running up the stairs to the shelves, and into a new world. Each book was a window into another place, into someone else's heart and soul.

Blogs have the same effect. They share elements of other communication revolutions: like paperbacks, they have low production costs, originality and wide distribution; like 24-hour news TV, they are real-time, accessible and create immediate feedback loops.

Reflecting a world where people are rapidly growing more connected, and threats are global, blogs represent "...a model that actually harnesses rather than merely exploits the true democratic nature of the web...a new medium finally finding a unique voice."

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