A Book Publisher's Manifesto
May 14, 2008
For all of you interested in what the future of publishing will look like, Sara Lloyd has begun posting her essay on the topic over at the digitalist (the digital team at Pan Macmillan's blog). Because of it's length, she's posting it in six parts. Today's installment was part two.
Crucially, we will need to work out how we can add value as publishers within a circular, networked environment. One of the key perception shifts that publishers need to make, then, is about the book as 'product'. Whilst the book continues to be viewed as a definable object within covers, as a singular 'unit', publishers will continue to limit their role in its production and distribution, and this is a sure fire way for publishers to write themselves out of the future of content creation and dissemination.This is a conversation we have quite often here. While we were handing out books at an author event recently, a gentleman walking by turned to us and said, "no one reads books anymore"--and, keep in mind, this man was there to see the author of the book speak. It's that sentiment that causes so much panic in our industry about the possible demise of the printed book, and I think that that panic sometimes clouds our vision of the future and what great possibilities it holds. So far, Sara Lloyd's essay has provided a very thoughtful and sober view of the situation. I'm looking forward to the next four posts. And, speaking of the future of publishing, you can now browse inside HarperCollins books on your iPhone.