Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Book industry has taken a pretty serious hammering in the last five years

PANZ Newsletter

Book industry has “taken a pretty serious hammering in the last five years” says Sandy Grant

“Nothing like a discussion about Copyright to keep you awake after an AGM,” joked Sandy Grant, guest speaker at the PANZ AGM on 18 July at Old Government House in Auckland. He went on to talk a bit about the copyright environment, then the state of the trade overall.

Sandy, CEO of Hardie Grant Publishing, an independent Melbourne-based publisher that publishes books and magazines and employs around 150 people, said he was talking with two hats – one as publisher and the other as Chairman of Australia’s collective licensing agency – the Copyright Agency.

His insights, shared with an attentive audience, evoked dismay at the book industry’s current doldrums:

I find that the trajectory of my working life, that has seen a steady rise in publishing output and a steady rise in income for every part of the book industry supply chain for 35 years, has taken a pretty serious hammering in the last five. Part of that is the relentless dog eat dog economic environment started in the GFC – and that has never recovered, but the other more profound influence is the transition to digital delivery of content. I was hoping to retire happily and hand the business to my son – now I am scrapping for sales and he is working at a digital agency making good money.

From the outside NZ looks to be suffering as much or perhaps even more than anyone else from both problems.

What we are seeing is a hunger for change driven by technology businesses and the consumer and both have shown little or no interest in the niceties of our business.
I remember years ago being told if your business is going to be cannibalised you should do it yourself. But we didn’t do it and cannibals got to us first.


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