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?

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Buzz, Balls & Hype
MJ Rose’s excellent blog


Where I podcast interviews with writers and thinkers about books, publishing and the future of culture.

Ron Silliman’s Blog
one of my favorite and most regular visits

Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers
Incisive, intelligent blog well worth bookmarking! 

Publishing Insider
The renowned Carl Lennertz covers the book business and more

Fresh Eyes Now
Robert Gray’s consistently interesting bookseller’s journal

Book Slut

The Long Tail
Chris Anderson’s ongoing exploration of how the web and human behavior creat new opportunities for information to be distributed (my words)

Galley Cat
Blog about the bookbusiness

Conversations in the Book Trade
interesting site

Flaming Grasshopper
Chelsea Green Press’ ongoing blog

Publishing 2.0: the (r)Evolution of Media
A blog about the (r)evolution of media, driven by the migration of media to the Web and new digital technologies by Scott Karp.  Highly recommended.

An e-book business site, but their blog covers book business stories as well.

The Digitalist 

"The Digitalist was originally conceived as an internal sounding board, discussion forum and blog for the publisher Pan Macmillan to start thinking about a range of digital issues it faced. It still is. Only now it’s open for everyone to join the debate about books, publishing, the web, and the future."  Highly Recommended reading for anyone interested in the future of publishing.

Teleread "Bring the E-books Home"

David Rothman’s outstanding blog covering all things related to e-books, now with the assistance of Paul Biba.

Invention Arts

Really smart people thinking hard about books, publishing and the emerging social conversation.  Creators of Aerbook: an author platform service for the social web. Highly recommended.


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