The future of publishing takes shape


By Stephen Page on Guardian Books Blog:

As the 2010 Frankfurt book fair opens, publishers are finally squaring up to a new era.

The wind blowing UK publishers over the water to the annual Frankfurt book fair also carries with it a heightened sense of an industry in revolution. The long-promised digital market is finally with us, and with it come the now-familiar calls for the death of the “heritage” players in the industry. But in favour of … what?

Publishers perform roles that writers need. The question now is whether writers will continue to turn to existing publishers to perform these tasks, and whether they believe they offer value. Some authors will bypass publishers (some always have) but among most authors and agents I deal with, there is no appetite to do so, because publishers continue to perform essential roles for writers in both the physical and digital worlds (editorial, marketing, distribution, and so on). However, urgent questions are rising about how a successful 21st-century publisher ought to look and function, and whether existing publishers can adapt quickly enough.


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Publishing Talk is the online community for publishers and authors interested in social media marketing, digital publishing, self-publishing and the future of the industry. It is run by social media consultant, author and ex-publisher Jon Reed.

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