September 18, 2008

The end of publishing

In the September 14 issue of New York magazine, Boris Kachka documents the decline and fall of the New York publishing business in excruciating detail.

What's amazing is how much the publishing business today resembles the music business a decade ago. The latter thought its business was selling pieces of plastic, not music. The former still thinks its business is selling pieces of paper, not stories. In the real world, paying 99 cents for a three-minute track is generous, and the real world won.

Ditto paying $4.95 for a 100,000 word novel. The panicked reaction to Amazon and the Kindle is telling. The industry is so scared about being overtaken by the next iTunes that can't contemplate becoming the next iTunes. As Kachka quotes one publishing insider, "We're an industry more willing to watch the boat sink than rock it a wee bit."

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# posted by Anonymous Anonymous
9/18/2008 1:15 PM   
Interesting story. Thanks for pointing it out.

In thinking about this, I was musing on the large advances some of these authors are getting and the whole issue of mid-tier authors and how it'd be cool if you could do it all yourself, but then publicity becomes much more difficult.

And then I came up with a genius idea: Pandora for literature.

I have no idea how it would work. But something that goes a step beyond Amazon's recommendation system.
# posted by Blogger Th.
9/18/2008 6:07 PM   

That is a good idea, William. I can't quite conceptualize it, but brilliant!