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by Julie, having fun at Bouchercon

l love this month’s theme of paradigm shifts. When I was in grad school (many years ago) a professor used Swiss watchmakers as an example of a paradigm shift. For many years, Swiss watchmakers were the best of the best, and people flocked to buy their timepieces. Then technology changed, and the Japanese came up with a watch that kept perfect time and didn’t need to be wound. The business shifted in that direction. Does that mean the Swiss timepieces were no longer wonderful? No, of course not. But it does mean a shift in expectations changed what people wanted.

I found an old Blockbuster card while purging a junk drawer. Another paradigm shift. Not that long ago (relatively speaking) a trip to the video store was necessary to rent a VHS tape for weekend entertainment. DVDs and Netflix caused some changes, but stores held on. Then streaming took over, and the chain closed. People can still rent videos online, or borrow them from the library. But what was once a viable business concept ceased.

Books are another matter. Though audio books and ebooks have come on the scene, paper book sales have not stopped. For bookstores, there are fluctuations but stores persist. And independent bookstores seem to be having a resurgence.

Dear readers, I do not need to exclaim the wonders of reading. You all “get” it. While surveys proclaim that fewer people read, I have found anecdotally that those who do read are reading more. The pandemic has caused some people to lose focus, but not enough for a paradigm shift. I suspect there never will be that paradigm shift away from reading. Stories are too important. Delivery systems will continue to evolve, but books themselves? They’re here to stay.

This isn’t to say that there may not be paradigm shifts in the publishing industry. But what they’ll be? That’s a great topic of conversation.

Many of the Wickeds are at Bouchercon this week. This huge fan conference is a celebration of the mystery genre, and a wonderful way for us to meet readers, catch up with other writers, and celebrate all things book. This afternoon I’ll be on a panel, and on Friday we’ll be signing books. I’ll be signing Wreathing Havoc, though I’m preparing for The Plot Thickets release on October 25.

Speaking of The Plot Thickets, I’ve got a couple of more ARCs. Comment on this post, and I’ll choose two winners on Monday. And if you’re at Bouchercon, please make sure to say hello!

Readers, if you haven’t pre-ordered The Plot Thickets or other Wicked books, now’s the time to do it! Through the 9th (tomorrow) pre-sales are 25% off at Barnes & Noble. Here’s the link!

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