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Old 11-21-2010, 04:04 PM   #1
wallcraft
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Relegating Paper Books To The Margins

In On The Certain Economics Of Relegating Paper Books To The Margins Of The Business James McQuivey says:
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When the dust settles, publishers will think of their eBook strategy first. Paper decisions will be made as an adjunct to digital decisions. Many, many books will be published without paper versions at all, at least until they get enough critical mass to justify going to paper. Bestsellers from proven authors will always get both, launched simultaneously, and certain niches (travel, cookbooks, etc.) will always have heirloom paper editions. Subject to such reduced fortunes, books will no longer dictate industry process or outcomes.
The entire post is worth reading, and is the clearest exposition of the likely near future of ebooks I have come across. Mike Canes says It’s Five Minutes To Midnight For Print Publishing. I would not go that far, and James McQuivey is most likely talking about the next five years. Even so, it is a brutal time to be in publishing and its going to get worse. On the other hand "interesting times" bring with them new opportunities.
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Old 11-21-2010, 05:21 PM   #2
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McQuivey is a pretty sharp guy, and I concur there isn't any "magic" in paper. He is also correct to a certain extent about the likely contractions in brick & mortar retail.

However, I do think paper has a few significant differences from other media, notably music and video; namely, those have always required an intermediary device. It isn't a big leap to go from a CD to an MP3. It also isn't a big leap for VHS to DVD, though the relatively small leap from DVD to (legit) downloaded movies is a big mess.

Paper books, on the other hand, have never required an intermediary device. So, that's a whole new layer that people don't associate with reading.

Plus people tend to consume a lot more music or video than read; those are relatively untaxing endeavors. The necessity for an intermediary device is lessened when you only read a handful of books every year.

So, we'll see how this works out, but I think it's going to be more than 5 years before ebooks become the "driver" of the book industry.
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Old 11-22-2010, 04:03 PM   #3
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Interesting point, but this is the age of having intermediary devices to hand: people not only are used to using such gadgets, they rely upon them every second of their waking day and even fetishise them.

There will be a proportion of book lovers who actively avoid technology. I should think it's a pretty small proportion, though.
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Old 11-22-2010, 05:48 PM   #4
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I set my margins to zero whenever possible. There's no room for a paper book in there.

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Old 11-22-2010, 05:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richey79 View Post
Interesting point, but this is the age of having intermediary devices to hand: people not only are used to using such gadgets, they rely upon them every second of their waking day and even fetishise them.

There will be a proportion of book lovers who actively avoid technology. I should think it's a pretty small proportion, though.
Exactly. Especially when the ebook reading device is something they already carry around all the time, like their phone or a laptop or tablet PC.

--Maria
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Old 11-22-2010, 06:13 PM   #6
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Looking at the paper books I have now given away (yes - finally I got rid of some) - the paperback novels went first, along with cheap and tatty-looking out of copyright books. Some of the large, folio size art and gardening books etc will never go as they are beautifully illustrated. Maybe it will more closely resemble the music market than we think - pop music went to MP3 first, jazz took longer, classical with its heavier demand on audio quality went last.
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