The end of book publishing? Part III

Just as I was running the risk of ecstatic optimism–my book is coming along great and I’m writing it much faster than I had expected–a long but worthwhile article in New York Magazine comes along to remind me that I should really be … dejected.

I have opined on the end of the book business before. In that post, I struggled with the question of whether or not anybody still … reads.

Now New York Magazine cheers us up by asking, among other things, whether or not anybody still sells (book stores), pays (book publishers) or markets (ditto). I’ve pulled out the choicest quotes:

Lately, the whole, hoary concept of paying writers advances against royalties has come under question… [The] money has to come from somewhere, so publishers have cracked down on their non-star writers. The advances you don’t hear about have been dropping precipitously.

(Fortunately, I’ve already got my advance.) Next, publicity:

Traditional marketing is useless. “Media doesn’t matter, reviews don’t matter, blurbs don’t matter,” says one powerful agent.

(I wonder if that “powerful agent” was this one.)

But that’s not enough. Borders Group, which controls about 12% of the entire book-selling market all by itself, is apparently “on death watch”. And then Amazon, the industry agrees, is poised to exert total, Big-Brotherish  domination of the market.

Oh vey, oh vey, oh vey…


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5 thoughts on “The end of book publishing? Part III

  1. I’ve been noticing how many websites of newspapers eg The Guardian UK, have increasing numbers of videos, rather than written articles.

    I see a trend where, in x numbers of years, all websites will have only videos.

    The print medium, then, is being replaced by the audio/visual medium. Thus, future generations will listen to audio “books”, and perhaps video “books” as well, where they’ll watch the author, or paid actor, reciting the words.

    So, while the printed book may be dying, the audio/visual book may be a growing phenomenon which will replace completely the printed book.

  2. That’s a compelling and lucid vision, Christopher. It would be the logical continuation of the old: “I’m not reading the book; I’ll just wait for the movie to come out” approach.
    Video is so superior to text in so many ways. Perhaps text was a brief interlude in the history of our species. Would that be frightening? I can’t explain to myself why I am frightened, but I seem to be.
    Now, are you the same Christopher as “he”, the expert on cricket? If so, I see that you are applying the tool of irony. 😉

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