Publishing Industry Overview 09/10 – 12/10
The mood is that of ‘it’s here’. In comparison to an industry survey I did before starting the MA last December. It is now a fact that digital is here. The mood is much less speculative and more accepting. There are still a lot of concerns mostly around how the publishing industry will continue to make money. There is a great deal of fear that giants such as Google and Amazon will simply take control. There is also a move into an agency model way of working that although met with negativity is believed to be a way of counteracting this.
Technology is moving forward quickly as it always does. The advances are affecting the quality of e-books, which is impacting positively on their sales. E-books matched the sales of hardbacks for the first time on Amazon. The need for a standard and cross-tech format is still very apparent however. It still feels like a new industry and there is a lot of fear about being left behind.
Interestingly PrintWeek is far more concerned about environmental issues around printed books then Bookseller. This is perhaps because the media they focus upon is mostly viewed as the less environmentally friendly. Unsurprisingly PrintWeek also had to most positive things to say about printed books, however this does not diminish its meaning.
There is still a feeling that books will continue to be valuable in printed form. It is suggested that people desire something tangible and trustworthy. The physical book is something to be relied upon and more unique than the oversaturated digital world. This feeling of oversaturation is also brought up by Julian Tait in the interview I had with him. He highlighted the ‘not mass produced’ label is found more are more on modern products. The individuality and connection to the process of making a physical object is something we engage with. Luxury printing and high quality books continue to sell well in the recession. Again highlighting our want for bespoke and beautiful things.
Overall the industry feels to be in a state of flux. There is a lot of worrying but also a sense of optimism and excitement. There are legal issues that need addressing so the publishing world does not go the same way as the music industry but people seem to be aware of this. The development of Augmented Reality is something to get excited about and to engage with. Also the possibilities of non-linear narratives commented on by Julian Tait and Bookseller are definitely things to be looking out for over the next few months.