New Book Biz Survey Reported
–Publishers Weekly, 10/8/2007
With the Frankfurt Book Fair starting later this week, show organizers have released results of a survey that asked publishing professionals worldwide their views on the biggest challenges and threats facing the industry as well as predictions on the future. More than half of the 1,324 respondents called digitalization the biggest challenge facing the industry, while competition from other media was picked as the major threat to the health of book publishing. The three other major industry threats were overpublishing, piracy and illiteracy.
Following the issues represented by digitalization, the survey found the other major industry challenges to be increased globalization, more user-generated content and the battle over territorial rights.
Not that I disagree that these are issues facing the book and the book industry, but I am surprised that there was obviously no significant concern expressed about the inevitable rise in the cost of energy affecting books both directly and indirectly (for example as the cost of production and delivery increases, printed book prices rise, sales of printed books may decline, sales of digital and audio books increase, creating a price spiral that eventually tips the scales against printed books).
Competition from other media is certainly valid but aren’t quality of education and literacy also significant issues for books, authors and publishers? And in a marketplace characterized as top heavy, with the disparity between the very top sellers and the rest of the market increasing, should we worry about the future of writing as a viable profession?
And just to continue in the contrarian mode, isn’t digitalization (or is it digitization?) as much the great opportunity for the publishing industry as it is the challenge of the future?
Does anyone know of a recent survey that tried to determine the opportunities that publishing professionals see ahead?