A recent issue of New Yorker magazine carried a story, ostensibly about the expected future shoot-out between Amazon's Kindle and Apple's iPad for control of the burgeoning ebook industry.
In this rather long and detailed article,the author poses some rather surprising - even shocking - views of the crumbling publishing industry:
- The publishing industry as a whole has never had a real - collective or individual - business plan. These companies depend on individual bookstores for trends, data on volume of general sales, and the like.
- Publishing companies have traditionally considered bookstores to be their customers. Consequently, they know little of their real customers, the readers.
- These publishing giants have never taken much of an interest in electronic technology or in the Internet to hawk their wares. This is largely why Amazon has been so successful at book sales.
- The result: publishers are making something on the order of $1 profit per book. This in turn has forced them to cut editorial services, marketing, and publicity - - all of which has made it near-impossible for new writers and established mid-list writers to sustain themselves financially. So many writers have turned to academia as a financial haven (a problem for the quality of creative writing in itself - I've posted on this previously ad nauseum).
- The consequence: Apple and Amazon are of the opinion that the publishing industry is unnecessary, and are going to the writers directly to publish their work (case in point: my own venture with Amazon - a novella, The Blue Bicycle, on Kindle).
I'm of a mixed mind about this. I grew up with books in my hand, even nearby, have kept it so all my life. I love the feel of my recliner at my back, a book in my hand, a beverage on the table beside me. Still, I have to be realistic: the book industry has shot itself in the foot, and there will likely be no turning back.
Causes Bob Mustin Supports
Native American culture. Education. Creative writing.