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The State of Book Publishing

June 20, 2009
Mother with Baby Using a Laptop © Somos Images/Corbis
Mother with Baby Using a Laptop
© Somos Images/Corbis

Is book publishing a dying trade? Not so, according to Francine Fialkoff, Editor-in-Chief of Library Journal. In an editorial piece titled The Book Is Not Dead, Fialkoff writes about the BookExpo America (BEA) in New York City and the future of publishing.

I found something written about Scribd interesting:

Although Scribd may be disintermediating the publisher by bringing the reader and writer together, many publishers have begun to work with the company, taking a page from the music industry’s failure to see the future in online content sharing and social media. Scribd taps into a whole reading community of writers, too.

She concludes that “As librarians, you already know that it’s the content, not the container, that counts.”

It is interesting to note that Scribd, often looked upon as the equivalent of Youtube for documents, allows authors or publishers to upload their writing and “set their own price for their work and keep 80 percent of the revenue“, according to an article in The New York Times. This gives them more control. And just last week, publisher Simon & Schuster agreed to sell digital copies of its books on Scribd at 20% off the list price. Read about it here.

So, what is the future of reading and publishing?

Ann Michael writes an insightful entry on Publishing for the Google Generation, noting that

Our habits and expectations concerning information have changed and continue to change as a result of Google, YouTube, Twitter, and other applications that teach us to interact with information differently than we have in the past.

In Clive Thompson on the Future of Reading in a Digital World, Thompson tackles the question “Can books survive in this Facebooked, ADD, multichannel universe?” His answer is yes, by adapting to the way people are coming to the written word. He highlights 2 new technology, not so much technology but 2.0 type applications? – CommentPress and BookGlutton. Read the fulltext here.

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