By Gareth Powell
The Apple iPod Touch and the Apple iPhone will all but destroy traditional publishing. It is already very sick. The days of the major sales when you would print a million of a book and know you would be OK are now well over.
The death of book publishing in the middle levels may not happen tomorrow. The relatives have been informed. It is awaiting the last rites. Probably within ten years.
This is written in the first person for there is no other way to write it. John Owen is one of the savviest publishers I know. He owned Weldon Owen — he bought out the Australian Kevin Weldon — and from his headquarters in San Francisco and Sydney built up, in partnership with his wife, Dawn, a major publishing empire. Which he recently sold.
He is visiting Sydney and last night took me to dinner.
The conversation was all about the death of publishing in the middle levels. It survives in other areas but the glory days are well past.
The easiest way to see why and how it is happening is iPod the Missing Manual by J.D. Biersdorfer and David Pogue.
At the bookseller Dymocks in Sydney it is US$27 although in the United States it is US$20. It is 278 pages long, has a laminated cover, is professionally laid out. Not great value for money but OK.
It was also available as a download on the official Apple site as:
iPhone: The Missing Manual, 2nd. Ed.Thoroughly updated and teeming with high-quality color graphics, humor, tips, tricks, and surprises, iPhone: The Missing Manual quickly teaches you how to set up, accessorize, and troubleshoot your iPhone 3G.
Price was US$3.50 on special.
Read his full sobering report at BLORGE.