So post Frankfurt two articles have caught my eye and both are, I’m sorry to say, not too sunny. The exact nature of the future is always hard to predict, but I think its safe to say that while the world in general is in economic and political turmoil, the book industry has its own localised maelstrom fully underway. The next year, I am certain, will be very interesting and highly disruptive.
So our two heralds are Eoin Purcell, whose excellent blog and twitter feed are well worth following. His article is a dissection of what he believes to be the three choices now open to bookshops. Its a bleak analysis, but I suspect he’s right.
The second is the New York Times with this article that outlines Amazon’s growing presence as a publisher. I have no doubt that Amazon will push really hard into this arena and their muscle and control of their channel will make them very powerful very quickly. In some ways it is part of the general trend to close the gap between writer and reader, that may lead to a host of new business models emerging. However the author quoted at the close expressed an age-old sentiment:
“My hope is Amazon will think it’s wonderful and we’ll go happily off into the publishing sunset,”
Delete Amazon, insert publisher name of choice. In the end all writers want a home from which their books will be birthed and launched and that will ensure that their books are read. I suspect Amazon will be no more successful at that than anyone else.