There seems to be one story about the publishing industry and that is trying to predict its future. Every day we see stories like:
Harper Legend a digital first imprint
Emap goes 100% digital
eReader sales slow
Waterstones drops kindle
eBook sales growth slows
Amazon opens a physical shop
46% of American adults have read a book on their phone….
They all follow the same form – a titbit of information from a press release or research paper extrapolated into an industry prediction. The stories are then syndicated and suddenly it appears like all the commentators are saying the same thing.
It’s all very interesting and some of it has to be right but in the end it’s like reading tea leaves.
What is notable about these stories is that they usually sit in one of two camps – physical or digital. If digital book sales slide then ‘digital is over’. If data shows Americans reading books on phones it’s a crisis for physical.
It’s not that simple and we think there is different perspective:
Digital is here to stay
So is some physical
Companies try stuff just to see what happens
This is only the beginning and no one has a monopoly on foresight
But in this changing and complex picture there are constants such as the connection between a great story and an enthralled reader. Perhaps we should focus more on that.