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1. The first blow to the New York literary establishment came when Dave Eggers and the McSweeney's scene erupted just before the turn of the century. Eggers had spent time in New York, but he was from Chicago and he chose San Francisco as his adopted city. McSweeney's upset the axis of the literary scene, drawing our attention from the east coast to the west. New York has spent the past 12 years trying to catch up, publishing bad Eggers rip-offs and trying to declare McSweeney's dead. They have failed again and again.

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2. But more important than that literary uprooting—"scenes" come and go, after all, and with the internet, great writers can live anywhere—is the uprooting of the publishing business. Ten years ago, all the power was in New York City. And perhaps if the publishers understood that e-books were the way of the future, that power could have remained in New York. But they didn't. They stuck to their tired, gluttonous ways, ignoring the future and hoping it would go away. Instead, it was the power that went away.

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3. Just as America was the only super-power left after the Cold War, Seattle-based Amazon.com is now the only super-power left in the publishing world. Publishers, authors, editors, and agents come kowtowing to Amazon now, hat in hand, begging for scraps and a few seconds of attention. The only reason that Random House, Simon & Schuster, and all the other New York houses even exist is because Amazon lets them exist; if Amazon were to pull them from its site, they would lose their major revenue stream. If Amazon were to choke them for a year, they would die. They know this. Their greatest fear is coming true: Authors are dealing directly with Amazon now, cutting out the greedy New York publishers and getting directly to the readers.

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4. Everyone knows that where the business goes, the talent follows. And Seattle's book culture—a culture that is second-to-none—is fostering talent at the feet of Amazon. We are on the verge of a new American literary style, and it will be born in Seattle. What will it look like? I'm not sure, but I know that it will be born thanks to the handmade craftsmanship of Pilot Books, and the gloomy, buried-cedar smell of Elliott Bay Book Company's reading room, and the weird red, glowing heart of Seattle Public Library's central branch, and the glamorous penthouse of the Sorrento Hotel. The Stranger's Literary Geniuses will probably lead the charge. It will be distinctly Seattle, and it will complete the transition of literary power from one coast to the other.

5. Another sign that the literary life has left New York? The former publishing gossip blog Gawker is now a mishmash of tawdry celebrity worship manned by a howling crew of outrage monkeys. It's not Gawker's fault, though. In order to survive, they had to make the transition to irrelevancy: Where there is no life, there is no gossip, and the publishing world in New York City is dead.