Don’t Stop the Presses Yet

In the first glance through my book publishing blog roll, the main conversational topic appears to be digital content and e-readers. Yes, there’s a wide range of topics covered in my 33 blog feed in a Garrison Keillor Lake Wobegon radio broadcast sort of way, but the major breaking news of the day seems to be digitization and e-readers.

 One post tells me that e-readers are being marketed in the wrong way cannibalizing existing readers rather than going after non-readers.  Seems like a winning formula to me that you’d want to expand, not cannibalize, your market.  Another informs me that e-books will soon be available in New Zealand.  As I didn’t know that e-books had not already made their way to the other side of the earth, this was news to me. 

Also interesting stuff about iPhone readers, e-readers and piracy in China (ok, there is activity on the planet’s far side however nefarious), and even an interview with the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vermont with some of the problems they face with the Expresso (print-on-demand) Book Machine (1.5 beta version) which they expect to be fixed with the 2.0 (non-beta?) version.

So what have I learned in my first, cursory view of the book publishing industry?   Well, my initial, knee-jerk evaluation that the industry is being dramatically changed by digitization and e-books seems to be correct. But it’s also readily apparent that this is no simple, “flip the switch let’s stop the printing presses and digitize every printed word”  transformation.  If the printed word were going away why would the Northshire Bookstore put up with a print-on-demand Expresso Book Machine that breaks down?   Plus it’s also apparent that the issues for both print and digital are, as expected, complicated. 

Free content, community building, digital content, reader devices, rights structure, and even legacy workflow issues are among the many issues facing the industry.

Lots to learn.

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