Wednesday, October 12, 2011
What is the positioning message of an industry that must either adapt painfully or die? That is the conundrum facing the publishing business where best-selling authors are going directly to readers or working through Amazon.com. The authors earn more, have less bureaucracy to deal with and get greater speed to market. So, what can the publishers say? Certainly they are still better for building authors who are not well known and who are a greater risk. But, because they are a greater risk, there are lower returns through sponsoring start-up brands. Publishers need big names to pay for unknowns, but the big names no longer need them. If I were representing a publishing house, I'm not sure what I'd say -- or advise. It seems certain that the industry will be much smaller soon as e-books take over and there is nothing the publishing industry can do to stop it. Nor, for that matter, should they attempt to stop it. They should be asking themselves how they can ride the tsunami.