The Japanese publishing industry’s book fair was an interesting experience. Seeing thousands and thousands of new books with nothing but an outward-facing spine to show for the months or years their authors and editors put into them, languishing on the shelves of countless publishers had me thinking about the struggle publishers (not just in books, but movies, music, and games) are facing in a world drowning in ideas. The entertainment markets are quickly shifting from a “thing”-based approach to a “person”-based (or “story”-based) approach, and, because corporations prefer to deal in “things” (IP, products, mascots, etc.) because they don’t talk back, they don’t ask for raises, and they don’t mind being used and abused, they are losing a piece of the pie. Meanwhile, for consumers who have come to appreciate the “person” or the “story”, “things” have come to feel more like what they really are – dead.