Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Publish or perish

A few months ago, the New Yorker published a long essay titled "publish or perish". It meant to describe, rather successfully, the complex situation of publishers facing, long after recorded music, movies and print newspapers, the challenge of the digital age.
The big question is about e-books. Who is going to distribute them? Who is going to read them, on what machines ? What is going to happen to booksellers who are already losing ground in front of Amazon and co ? Who, in fact, will profit from the digital revolution in the book industry ?
No answer is obvious. No figures are accurate. Amazon famously refuses to provide any indications on the Kindle. Apple and Google are moving into this new field but their strategy is far from clear. We know for sure that there always be publishers to work with authors and edit books. The fate of the bookstores is much less promising. Many will disappear. It is also a fact that the digital books, sold at fairly low prices, won't be a bonanza for the publishers. For many people, the dream can turn into a nightmare. Still, don't worry to early. E-books are less than 1% of the book sales in France.