It’s one of my favorite times of year! It’s the annual Beloit College Mindset List. Since 1998, the college has been helping their professors understand what the cultural differences are between them and the incoming freshman class. The list is new each year, which means there’s an awful lot of fluff on it, but some of the entries really make you think. (I recommend going back and looking at past lists, since much of those still apply.) A couple that stood out to me this year:
32. Czechoslovakia has never existed. (I still remember teaching myself how to spell it when I rather impulsively chose it as the Olympic competitor country to do a report on in 5th grade.)
67. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has always sat on the Supreme Court.
46. Nirvana is on the classic oldies station.
That last one gets me the most. Now that I live in LA and have to drive, I listen to music radio again, something I hadn’t really done since high school. It was definitely a shock hearing Nirvana on the “classic rock” station.
So, how’s this relate to publishing? It’s important as publishing professionals to be aware of who our audience is, and reading this list always makes me stop and think about the kids picking up my authors’ books. And it also makes me project into the future: In a few years, there won’t be a kid who’s been to a Waldenbooks. They won’t remember a time before Amazon. They’ll live in a world that’s full of widely-available, instant-access e-books. And this is just a few years down the line! Any thoughts on what generational changes the future might hold for publishing?