You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

breaking news

Woman killed in home invasion identified

How have books changed in the last 10 years?

July of 2004 seems like yesterday to me. I was writing my first book reviews for this newspaper. Now I’m writing my 520th Book Nook column. That’s 10 years’ worth.

I’ll take this moment to reflect upon my world of books. There have been fascinating developments. Here are a few things that made an impression on me over the last 10 years:

The impact of technology

The rise of electronic books, eBooks have become significant. People are reading books on all sorts of platforms:

Kindles and Nooks and tablets and smartphones. Ten years ago these technologies didn’t exist. I’m not a user of those new platforms, but I’m pleased that they are available. They open up many more opportunities for people to read books.

Self-publishing. Today just about anybody can publish a book. Do you know what I love about that? Anybody can publish a book. Do you know what I hate about it? Anyone can publish a book. Thousands of people are self-publishing books that never would have gotten published otherwise, and some of them are quite good. But most self-published books are not that good. I swim through an ocean of this stuff in search of books that could have merit. It is a lonely and often fruitless endeavor.

Ten years ago Amazon was already a force in publishing, and today Amazon is the nine million pound gorilla in the room. Amazon sells the most books, which gives the online store enormous power. Amazon is a dominant force in eBooks with their Kindle eReaders.

A couple of years ago Amazon won a significant victory in a litigation involving eBooks. Publishers need Amazon. The publishing industry has been in turmoil since the financial crisis of 2008. Publishers are consolidating. The recent merger of Penguin and Random House, two of the largest US publishers, is one indication of the challenges that publishers are facing and the methods they are employing to survive.

With the collapse of the Borders bookstore chain and the difficulties that Barnes and Noble is facing the landscape for selling books is clearly in a state of flux. Amazon is now sitting in the catbird seat.

The Dayton Literary Peace Prize

Ten years ago Sharon Rab, founder and chairwoman of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation, asked me to get involved with her dream project, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.

The group she organized wished to honor writers who promulgate peace.

They would present annual awards in two categories, fiction and nonfiction. I’m a marketing guy, so I wondered, How can we generate some buzz for these hitherto unknown awards? Then I hit upon it; we could create an additional award for lifetime achievement and that first prize should go to the eminent oral historian Studs Terkel. Studs was in his 90s then, the window of opportunity would be closing swiftly. I made these suggestions: Create this new award, and please give it to Studs. And so they did. The rest is history.

Vick Mickunas of Yellow Springs interviews authors every Friday at 1:30 p.m. and on Sundays at 11 a.m. on WYSO-FM (91.3). For more information, go online to Contact him at

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Springfield Entertainment

Donald Trump will remain a producer on 'Celebrity Apprentice'
Donald Trump will remain a producer on 'Celebrity Apprentice'
President-elect Donald Trump will remain a producer on the revamped NBC show "Celebrity Apprentice." Variety reported that Trump has an executive producer credit on the reality TV show, according to confirmation from MGM Television, which produces the show.
Ryan Stevenson to perform at John Legend Theater in Springfield
Ryan Stevenson to perform at John Legend Theater in Springfield
John Lennon: How we first heard about his death 36 years ago
John Lennon: How we first heard about his death 36 years ago
John Lennon, who rose to unimaginable fame first as one of the Beatles, then as a songwriter and an activist, was shot and killed outside of his home in New York City 36 years ago today.
Concert announcements
Concert announcements
What to expect at the 2nd annual Gingerbread Festival in Yellow Springs
What to expect at the 2nd annual Gingerbread Festival in Yellow Springs
More Stories