Restless publisher Ilan Stavans has penned an editorial forPublishing Perspectives:
If the word “book” isn’t passé, then maybe the concept is. We are witnessing a dramatic change of reading habits. Though traditional books might be more marginal, people are reading more than ever: on our computers, on our phones, we live under a previously unimaginable deluge of words and opinions and information. This is a problem of abundance, not scarcity. What do we need to cut through the noise? Insightful, provocative reading about our convulsed and fragmented times. Ideas matter and ideas beautifully articulated matter even more. Good writing is also good thinking: to feel empathy toward someone who comes from a different environment is what human understanding is about. Writing is still the best way to reflect on those vital differences.
Reaching across cultures, across languages is thus essential. Translation is a remedy against the ostracism, against the apathy America often projects toward the rest of the planet.
Obviously, books are no longer simply bound volumes of paper. They are at the same time much more and much less—much more as they expand and travel the world at light speed, much less as their linguistic range and traditional market narrows. Let’s do something to change this and bring the same exuberance to world literature that we are bringing to digital literature.
Read the rest of the editorial here.