Digital didn't deep-six books as an art form. According to Joseph B. Ketner II in "Andy Warhol," that was already under way in the 1960s. Here you can check out the Ketner's book on Amazon.com.
Ketner quotes Marshall McLuhan's observations from that time. That communications theorist was among those who viewed television, Hollywood, a celebrity culture and commercial graphic design which Warhol exploited as shifting both consumer attention and the art world away from a literary based society.
Sure, there could be best-selling literary authors such as Philip Roth. But the era of a Charles Dickens who created international mindsets from fictional content was essentially over. The F. Scott Fitzgeralds and the characters like Gatsby they created were the last literary ones which would resonate. Now we reflect a lot on the fictional Walter White from "Breaking Bad" and the laconic nameless main character in "All Is Lost."
However, books remain a powerful marketing tool in just about every field, ranging from professional services to politics. Over and over again, emerging players are told: Publishing a book is the price of entry. That's more easily facilitated now that self-publishing doesn't carry a stigma. Publishing-on-demand, as offered by iUniverse.com, makes it cost-efficient. Eventually an establishment publishing house could pick up the book and give it a formal baptism.
Those whose names appear on the books will still struggle with the process. Even with an experienced ghostwriter, putting together a book is soul-wrenching. But most of those who have gone through all that view it as having an amazing payoff. Soon enough they are ready for their next book.
Then there are those who are haunted by the mystique of what a book once represented. Being a published author had been considered a remarkable accomplishment. So, they decide to publish a book. Among them are entrepreneurs who became wealthy through their first start-up. They are known as the "memoir" crowd. Usually, their story is not unique. It has no startling insight for other entrepreneurs and businesspeople in general.
We ghostwriters, of course, profit from those ego wants. Rarely do the entrepreneurs. In fact, being engaged in writing a book presents a distraction from their business. In itself that can throw them off their game and they can't succeed with a second start-up.
At venture-capital boot camps they should warn entrepreneurs about this kind of ego siren call and how to avoid it. Meanwhile, public relations experts have to persuade more establishment players to have a book in their credentials.
Books always were a lot of work. Currently they still are a lot of work. Those with ego wants can feed them more easily and have more fun with a video documentary.