Then Jane Harris - lovely webmaster of the Randell Cottage website - told me (via Facebook) about this terrific piece on the future of the book written by James Warner on McSweeney's.net. Go here to read it. ... It is satirical bliss. One of my favourite bits, is Warner's projection of the book in 2040:
2040: Authors Will Become Like Tamagotchi.
Having determined that what readers want is a "sense of connection," publishers will organize adopt-an-author promotions, repackaging writers along the lines of Webkinz and other imaginary pets. "Feeding" your favorite authors by buying their books will make their online avatars grow less pale and grouchy. If they starve to death on your watch you will lose social networking points. Book clubs will cultivate with their favorite writers the warm, fuzzy, organic bond a trainer develops with his or her Pokémon, a process that will culminate in staged fights-to-the-death between your author and the author sponsored by another book club. These fights will occur offline, since there will be one or two bookstores left and something has to happen there.