Over the last several months – it could be as long as a year, actually – whenever I have met someone not in our industry who asks what I do and I tell them, I invariably get the question, “Is publishing going to survive.” What they really mean is whether the business of book publishing will be able to survive the arrival of the digital book.
I have always maintained that the changes that reading books electronically will bring to the book publishing business can and will be very exciting. In fact, I have been absolutely certain that as a result of these changes, reading overall would increase.
And then Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon announced that for the last three months, sales of books for its e-reader, the Kindle, outnumbered sales of hardcover books. This news is really historic.
There was other news though that was just as exciting. According to the American Publishing Association, hardcover book sales were up industry-wide 22% this year. Indeed, reading has been increasing, and I believe as more and more electronic reading devices are sold – and sales of these are way up as their prices have dropped – people will read more in all formats.
So, rather than being concerned that book publishing is going down the tubes, outside observers of our business should jump on the bandwagon and spread the word. This is only the beginning of a wonderful new digital publishing age.
Do you all agree?