Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

05/16/2013

Traditional Publishing Will be Usurped by Digital – But – Print Will Remain in Serious, Non-Fiction Literary Efforts


Gayle Feldman, New York based author and correspondent of “The Bookseller”, receives an exclusive interview with China.org.cn on May 8, 2013. [China.org.cn]

Here we go again – Pitting traditional publishing against indie and self-publishing; print format against digital format; old school business model against new business model, etc. – Which will be the last man standing?

How about ALL — just in different suits. 

Gayle Feldman, a deeply vetted world traveler and widely experienced 30 year veteran of the writing/publishing field, shares many of the same views held by yours truly Re the present and future state of publishing.

A little relevant background from her biography:

“Gayle became the New York correspondent for the London-based Bookseller in 1999, for which she writes a monthly “Letter from New York. 

Other essays – about her family, China, and books and writers – have appeared in The Times of London, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Los Angeles Times, The Far Eastern Economic Review, and on the Op-Ed page, in the Science section, and in the Book Review of The New York Times.

After being awarded a Pew-funded National Arts Journalism Program fellowship at Columbia University in 2001-2, Gayle Feldman spent a year and a half researching and writing a hundred-page study of bestsellers and prize-winning books to show how the book business evolved during the last quarter of the twentieth century as well as the directions it is taking early in the twenty-first century. Published by NAJP as a monograph, Best and Worst of Times: The Changing Business of Trade Books was published in March 2003, and has been reported or quoted in The New York Times, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, The Boston Globe, NPR’s On the Media, etc.”

Zhang Junmian, China.org.cn, reported on Gayle’s exclusive interview on May 8:

Print publishing’s digital challenge

“In the future, print books will continue, but e-books will inevitably grow and dominate some publishing sectors,” New York based author and correspondent of “The Bookseller” Gayle Feldman told China.org.cn in an exclusive interview on May 8. Feldman was commenting on the idea that in the long run, traditional publishing will be usurped by its digital rival.

Feldman, who has worked in publishing for more than 30 years, believes that the traditional publishing sector will continue in spite of an increasingly digitized world. She believes, however, that the traditional sector should adapt and reinvent itself in order to meet the challenges from both domestic and global markets.

In recent years, the conventional publishing sector has been squeezed by internet use in general as well as tech giants like Google, Apple, and particularly the online retailer Amazon. E-books, now a multi-billion dollar category for the company, surged nearly 70 percent in 2012, Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon, said in late January 2013. In addition, recent news reports have stated that Microsoft is offering US$1 billion to buy Nook Media’s digital assets.

The rise of digital reading and online book stores has also led to the closure of many high street book stores. Borders, the second-largest U.S. bookstore chain, went bankrupt in 2011, while in China, it’s reported that more than 10,000 private brick-and-mortar bookstores were closed between 2008 and 2011.

As well as this, the change-ravaged book business has been gripped by the dual trends of consolidation and dispersion. Consolidation has resulted in a smaller number of large publishers due to mergers and acquisitions — and the number is set to fall further — while dispersion has led to an increasing number of both smaller publishers and self-published authors, according to Feldman.

“Statistics show that about 23 percent of all trade book sales in the United States in 2012 were e-books,” said Feldman. “And [this is] fast growth, given that people [only] began to read e-books in 2009.”

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1 Comment »

  1. Readers of this column may be interested in the new documentary OUT OF PRINT (www.outofprintthemovie.com), narrated by Meryl Streep, which premiered last month at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York and is currently screening at the Seattle International Film Festival. These issues are addressed by participants like Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Authors Guild President and author Scott Turow, Digital Public Library of America advocate and Harvard Librarian Robert Darnton, and many others, including the late author Ray Bradbury.

    Comment by Morton Denn — 05/20/2013 @ 1:07 pm | Reply


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