Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Reality On The Ground In The Book Trade
June 2, 2009 - TPM Blog.

If you follow news coverage of the trade book business, it may not be entirely clear why the main players appear to be experiencing so much trepidation. The narrative goes like this: publishers and traditional booksellers are in a state of disarray because sales have been down and no one seems to know the extent to which the digital realm will ensnare part of the market.
While declining sales seem to support the built-in fear that people are increasingly distracted by various entertainments and therefore not reading as much these days, sales have been down in other markets as well. People have been operating in a layoff environment, and this has an impact on spending habits.

On the digital publishing front, meanwhile, news coverage seems to support a theory of inevitability that readers are, at some unknown point in the future, going to abandon traditional books in great numbers to embrace the Amazon Kindle or some other device, even though e-books only represent 1 to 3 percent of total book sales.
Considering that small percentage, it's not at all clear why so much of the reporting on the book trade is focused on the digital realm. Of course, quite a few predictions have been made about the pending gravitational force of digital books. The argument is that people will increasingly opt for staying home and doing everything in life by pushing a button. After all, who needs to go out for anything when everything in the world may be downloaded?
The full piece at the TPM blog.

No comments: