Saturday, March 27, 2010

Changes in Publishing

For the past few years editors, authors, agents, and book retailers have struggled with the changes in the publishing world. As I attended conferences or read industry magazines, I've found many theories about the market. Everyone agrees that selling books has become a less profitable business than it once was. The large publishing houses have worked to merge, streamline, and generally revamp their ccorporate structures. Many small bookstores have gone out of business entirely, and even the chains have suffered. I was personally affected when an editor at one of the biggest houses requested my manuscript and was then laid off about two weeks later. Ah well, such is life. I wonder what ever became of my novel? Maybe it was recycled into scratch pads, I don't know, but as far as I know nobody ever took a look at it.

Some in a position to know believe the economy has affected the public's spending, but even before the current recession, industry professionals worried that consumers were finding their entertainement and information in other forms of media. I don't know if studies have actually shown younger generations to be less interested in reading, but it does seem logical given the amount of time people now spend on computers, video games, and television. Many feel that storytelling must simply adapt to the technology through the e-book phenomenon. And they may be right - e-books are showing significant growth and gradually becoming a more sustantial part of publishing.

A few weeks ago, however, one of my new colleagues at Echelon Press called my attention to a video that deals with a young person's view of books and publishing. I'm not sure the film is any kind of answer to the future of publishing, but it does, at least, present an interesting way of thinking about the field as it may be seen by teens. Just be sure to watch it all the way to the end.

No comments: