The other day I was speaking to a class about the future technologies which will impact publishing industry, as if they haven’t had enough disruption already with online news syndicates and consolidators, as well as eBooks which seem to be taking the market by storm. One doesn’t necessarily have to read the Wall Street Journal everyday to understand that the newspaper industry is getting hammered, and the big publishers and bookstores are having a tough go of it.
Well, the status quo has been blessed with decades of solid business and control over the marketplace, but things are changing, disruption happens, and never fear there is always opportunity in crisis; well, at least that’s what I told the class full of future novelists and creative writers. Anyway, the other day, I was discussing the future of personal tech devices, as in eReaders, Tablets, and iPads, and how in the future, they would dispense scent and smells as the reader read through a multi-media eBook. Troy LaClaire a fellow think tanker started;
“Perhaps such units could be sold in much the same way as books, in that you could have individual units for each ‘story’, which would permit you to only have to embed into that unit the necessary chemicals for the particular ‘smells’ that story needs? As the unit runs out of the chemicals, you could buy specific ‘cartridges’ to refill for that story, similar to printer cartridges?”
Right, okay so, if you are a writer, then you’ll want to have scenes in your book and a storyline which mentions the aroma of a meal, the smell of a forest, or the odor of jet fuel at the airport. And if you do, then your story can make the leap into the future with these new smell-o-matic type technologies, which is actually an idea that was first written about by a Sci Fi writer and developed in the 1960s, but now all this will be possible with personal tech, due to the digital sequencing of scents. Troy also noted;
“This would of course allow for an ongoing ‘tie-in’ to keep the customer coming back, especially for stories that they want to keep using repeatedly?”
Right, and indeed, this is yet another revenue stream for the lowly writer, who is generally not making all they deserve for their creative genius talent. How so you ask? Well, McDonald’s might sponsor a scene, along with a scent for their new McRib sandwich, lots of commercial uses.
Yes, it might put the perfume industry out of business, but they might have patented the digital scent sequence and thus, a magazine article in the New Yorker might have a perfume advertisement. If your article gets accepted into the New Yorker, well, they might be paying us writers more money per word in the future you see?
This is one reason I told the class of creative writers to be on the lookout for new technologies and be ready to adapt. Otherwise you could end up like the newspaper, publishing, or bookstore industry. Please be thinking here.