An Interesting Take on the Publishing World

I’ve been following Kristen Lamb’s blog for a while.  I’ve picked up some useful writing tips, like the recommendation that led me to Save the Cat.

Ms. Lamb is also a keen observer of changes roiling the publishing industry, and her latest post is worth a look by anyone with an interest in that world.  The post is called,  “Bracing for Impact – The Future of Big Publishing in the New Paradigm.”

The author makes several key points:

  1. The music industry was the first to get steamrolled by new technology.  They buried their heads in the sand and thought their customers were music stores when they really were music lovers.  I don’t buy CD’s anymore, do you?
  2. Kodak went bankrupt because management thought they were a film company.  They forgot the vision of George Eastman, their founder, who knew their customers cared about pictures, not film.
  3. Finally, Ms. Lamb quotes a startling line in an Author’s Guild report:  “For book publishers, the relevant market isn’t readers (direct sales are few), but booksellers.”   I read this a few times and found the analogy to a car wreck very appropriate. 

Ms. Lamb offer suggestions to traditional publishers – the same message she sent to their headquarters in the past, to no avail.  For instance, what if the Big Six developed their own ebook divisions where new authors could get a launch, and a print contract later if online sales were strong?  Why couldn’t they design apps for smart phones and e-readers, and set them up so that indie bookstores could help customers with downloads and get a commission in the process?

There’s much in this post of interest, including a link to another blog that details the latest turf war between Amazon and everyone else.   Everywhere you look are signs that traditional publishing has hit an iceberg.  Kristen Lamb, among many other things, does an excellent job in helping us sort this out.

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