Vastly more ink

December 10, 2009

Picture 3

Quote above from Alex Petridis’ review of the decade in music from Monday’s Guardian.

And it strikes me that this is increasingly true of the publishing business too, and perhaps it is something we should be concerned about. My own approach has always been: literature first, technology second. What are the needs of writers and readers, and how can publishers use technology to address these needs?

Increasingly, we seem to be flailing about in a sea of formats, models, and philosophical digressions into the meaning of publishing when what we should be saying is: we have writers, we have readers: how do we serve both sides of what we do?

The recent decision by Simon & Schuster and Hachette to hold back ebook publishing until four months after hardback (admirably, as always, investigated by Booksquare) is a good example of this. Technology allows us to serve readers and writers better than this, but the move is all about serving publishers themselves. “We’re doing this to preserve our industry,” says David Young (Hachette chief) but if all our efforts are spent fulminating over and attempting to corral technology, we’re going to lose sight of what our industry actually does.

1 Comment

  1. I could not agree more.

    This move by three of the biggest book publishers is about their struggles with Amazon’s growing influence.

    Delaying ebooks hurts the customers who are adopting the technology that will act as the basis for the future of the industry. I also believe delays create windows for piracy as people search for the books they want wherever they can find them.

    Comment by Todd Sattersten — December 10, 2009 @ 4:56 pm

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