Friday, February 25, 2011

The end of publishing?

When I tell people I want to go into publishing, I get a variety of reactions. Most commonly though, people tell me it's a dying industry. Then again, my other industry (journalism) is in more trouble than book publishing, I think. I mean, way more people in my generation read books than read newspapers. On some level, I understand this, like understanding of the internet and breaking news. But, this post isn't about that.

I love the publishing world, because I like books. Makes sense right? But I have people continually telling me, "Books are going out of style. No one's going to be reading books in the future." That's a scary thought for me. How can I be going from one dying industry to another?!

They may be right. Maybe like the internet was for newspapers, things like e-readers will change the world of publishing. Have you noticed how so many publishers are moving toward Galleys than actual paper ARCs? (I'm not saying paper ARCs have completely disappeared or anything, but you can see how it's easier and cheaper to distribute to people in electronic form, right?) Maybe E-readers are the new thing. 

But, I don't think the E-reader is going to kill publishing. The internet didn't kill news, it just changed how it was distributed. Maybe that's what will happen? I don't know. This post isn't really about E-readers either.

It's about people. There will always be people who are going to read. I don't think it's going to go out of style. Sure, we'll still care about our fave shows and what this hot celebrity is doing and all that arguably vapid info. However, we're still going to care about reading. I think that's one of the main reasons I want to go into young adult, because teens read more than adults, even if they pay more attention to pop culture too. Their minds can hold it all. And they're going to care. Reading won't die. I'm going to do everything I can to keep it from happening. 

It's all about perspective. Don't know what I mean? Watch this video put together by the UK branch of Dorling Kindersley Books and produced by Khaki Films. Make sure to watch the whole thing. And remember, perspective.

What do you guys think? In 20, 50, 70 years are your kids and grandkids going to be reading? Or will the publishing industry collapse? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


ashelynn sanford said...

Publishers are going to e-galleys because it's cheaper on them. They don't make profit on ARCs, so it is harder on them to produce it. Plus, it shouldn't matter if they're printing ARCs or not, as readers we should buy the finished copy, not be wanting a free copy.

The publishing industry won't collapse. People read all the time, even if they don't want to admit it since they don't think anybody else does read. The reason why everybody is freaking out about this is because the economy is low in America right now. We're getting out of a recession, but the publishing industry isn't dying. It's just hitting some low points.

Sarah Robertson said...

I'm with Ashelynn on the ARC thing. It actually costs publishing companies more money to produce ARCs than the actual print copies of the books, which is why it's so important to determine which reviewers get ARCs since they are primarily for promotional purposes. I read an article on this a few weeks ago, but I cannot, for the life of me, find it!

Actually, Ashelynn apparently summed up everything I was thinking on this matter. The publishing industry won't collapse--it's just easier for everyone to start freaking out than it is for them to think positive. In fact, it might just be the everyday man weaving these rumors, since most of the industry professionals I've seen have had fairly positive outlooks.

Alyssa (The Lit Express) said...

Hear, hear! The publishing industry is NOT collapsing. It may be in the midst of a major change, but all the industries are. The internet has completely changed the way people interact and communicate with each other -- it has changed the way people view a lot of products and brands, because we have the capacity to find out everything about everything through the internet.

Obviously, publishers will look for cheaper methods of doing business. This increases their profits. Distributing ARCs and even books through the internet is incredibly cost-effective. They don't have to pay for warehouses to keep inventory of the books and through e-books, they don't have to pay for shipping. (Many people also cite that they don't have to pay for the actual paper, ink, etc., and while this is true, I've heard it said that those costs aren't all that significant in comparison to other costs of producing a book.)

There will always be a market for reading. Always. People read even before the printing press became available (not a lot of people, but people nonetheless). If anything, e-books have made it extremely easy for people to access books and read in their spare time. So that's my vote: the industry is changing, not dying.

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