Page 17 - 9781935340843_txt.indd

This is a SEO version of 9781935340843_txt.indd. Click here to view full version

« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »

The Shatzkin Fi les  xix

Then, around the frst anniversary of the blog, Apple’s iPad and the iBookstore arrived on the scene, ofering publishers the oppor-tunity to implement the so-called “agency model,” under which the discounting of ebooks is efectively stopped. I atribute to that tactic, along with the introduction of the iPad, the Nook, Kobo and Google Editions, the stabilization of ebook distribution in a multi-retailer market with evolving global competition. So, two years later, it looks like that early post was right.

We’re going to see a lot more change in trade publishing in the years to come. I expect the next two years to present even greater challenges and more drastic change than the last two years have. Since The Shatkin Files began, the extremely challenging times we’ve expected for bookstores have become very evident. Over the next two years, the extremely challenging times it has seemed to me must follow for general trade publishers will probably become equally evident.

One thing worth using this introduction to say is that I take no pleasure in the big publishers’ pain. It is a mater of professional pride to me to not allow my preferences to color my predictions. I love bookstores and libraries and consider the top management of the big trade houses to be intelligent, ethical, and creative people. I consider many of them friends. The fact that the transition from reading and distributing print to largely reading on screens and distributing print online makes much of their skill sets and busi-ness models obsolete is not their fault. Nor is the fact that preserv-ing their old business, and the cash fow it still yields, sometimes interferes with inventing the new one.

There are serious initiatives in the big houses to acknowledge the importance of verticalization (mostly in genres), to create direct con-tact with audiences, and to employ scale in search engine optimiza-tion and in locating customer clusters online that it is hoped will en-able a new version of the horizontal, big book publisher model to leap the chasm of change. At the same time, the big publishers are fguring out how to step back from the enormous overheads associated with doing business the way they have for the past 100 years. How much change is sufcient, and how fast is fast enough, are questions we’ll only know the answers to with the passage of time.

Mike Shatkin April 7, 2011

Page 17 - 9781935340843_txt.indd

This is a SEO version of 9781935340843_txt.indd. Click here to view full version

« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »