Publishing at the Tipping Point
Special to the New Communications Review by Danny O. Snow
Copyright © 2009, All Rights Reserved
A convergence of factors, both long and short term, is pushing the publishing industry to a tipping point in 2009. Unlike past “watershed” years, this one is not just wishful thinking or a hopeful prediction about the impact of innovative technology. The changes we are seeing today are real and lasting. As a result, some publishers (and related businesses) may not survive — but the book world as a whole will emerge stronger and better in the future.
Economic crises are forcing publishers to abandon wasteful, outmoded business models
Reading is growing, not shrinking, in spite of fears that younger people no longer care about the written word
e-Books are growing, but printed books are NOT perishing in the process
General bookselling is giving way to specialty marketing
Online media are supplanting traditional print and broadcast media in book marketing
In the wake of the 2008 economic crisis, long-standing foundations of the mainstream publishing industry began to crumble. Chain bookstores struggled more than ever; major publishers put freezes on acquisitions and downsized staff; leading daily newspapers dropped their print editions in favor of online distribution.