Extracts from two good pieces about digital publishing, from Australia and Ireland.
For me this was the take-home message of Tools of Change. Many publishers were clearly just trying to keep up with the pace of change, trying to decide which formats/platforms/devices to support, or whether to develop an iPhone app, or how much to mess with their workflow, or how to price e-books. These are all now urgent decisions and I don’t envy companies who have get across all these issues and implement a business strategy while things are clearly still in flux.
But the shining examples of fresh thinking, of deep engagement with questions about what publishing is and what it is going to be, of commitment to not just toe-in-the water strategy by dive-in-fully-clothed new business models, convinced me these were the individuals and companies that would be setting the benchmark for us all to follow.
- from Electric Alphabet, blog of Kate Eltham, founder of if:book Australia
Much as we love our physical books (and let’s face it, the majority of those working in publishing NOW, are there because of a love of paper books) we cannot let that love blind us to the realities of change and the shift that digital is imposing upon us. But the industry, despite notable and impressive exceptions, is still avoiding the inevitable accommodation and embrace of the Internet AS THE PLATFORM. As a body, we are ignoring the implications of digital change and seeking short and medium-term patches at the expense of long-term success. We need to prepare for a smaller print industry (in terms of titles, publishers and staff) and a bigger digital industry — one that will exist in a multiplicity of forms beyond the e-book.
We all know that the e-book market as it is currently structured is not designed in the best interests of book publishers. “Why should it be?” is a common response. And they’d be right: publishers have no special right to exist. Nevertheless, publishers remain powerful forces and should at least make an effort to change the game in their favor. To do so requires deeper thinking and better, more strategic, long-term action than they are currently exhibiting.
- Eoin Purcell, Publishing Perspectives