Skip to Content

'One of the largest and most profitable industries in history'

9 August 2010

'Books are not going anywhere. Neither is publishing. Since Gutenberg made his epic contribution to the human race, publishing has secured a place as one of the largest and most profitable industries in history. In that time, publishing has adapted to major technological changes, survived economic meltdowns, persisted through political censorship, and made it to the other side of catastrophic price wars. The likes of Simon & Schuster and Random House are not going to lay down simply because more than 25% of their potential customers bought electronic version of books instead of much more expensive, hard to warehouse, and returnable physical books. If the mainstream publishing world's enthusiastic embrace of eReaders is not evidence enough that they are doing fine, than their stable sales through the largest economic disaster in our nation since the Great Depression should be.

Small publishers need not worry either. They are vanguards in this new trend, innovating and competing in ways the big boys can't catch up with. Like the music and movie industries have experienced, independent book publishers are on the cusp of transitioning into the very lucrative mainstream market.

If anyone should be concerned, it is the bookstore. Amazon's healthy five-year trend indicates that the flight from brick and mortar is not subsiding anytime soon. Couple that with the middleman-eliminating eReaders, then bookstores have a great deal to worry about. And their 15 point drop last year is only the beginning. It is the bookstores that need to break into the market with a bullhorn explaining the value of the printed book, not the publishers.'

Jennifer Havenner, independent publisher, in the Huffington Post