Book Publishing Industry Just Now Realizing That Change Is Turbulent?
from the really? dept
As the latest episode of “the ebook wars” continues, there’s still lots of chatter about last weekend’s Macmillan/Amazon fight. Apparently a lot of authors are angry at Amazon for this. While I can understand how the fight might hurt some authors — and they’re justifiably worried about Amazon’s dominance in the ebook market today, I think they need to take a larger view of things. The reason why Amazon tried (though, failed) to stand up to Macmillan was to avoid Macmillan making some really stupid decisions about ebook pricing and distribution windows. That Macmillan won may have helped some authors in the short run (avoiding them being cut off by Amazon), but could hurt in the long run by fighting against the economic tide.
Perhaps the best summary of this situation was written by Steven Pearlstein at the Washington Post, who recognizes that this is a technological transformation, and while it may be messy in the interim, the end results should be quite positive:
While markets have their flaws, over the long run they are good at executing these technological transformations…. Reports of the death of book publishing, like those of music publishing and newspaper publishing, are greatly exaggerated. Business models will change, companies will come and go, and people will lose their jobs. But at the end of the process, there will be fewer people who will be paid higher incomes to produce a wider array of products at lower prices. There’s a word for that — progress — and it’s exciting to see it unfold right in front of us.
If only those going through that transformation could recognize it in those terms…