Publishing is a business like any other, it has its ups and downs, sometimes more so than others. However, I wholeheartedly believe that it will succeed and not only succeed but I see a change coming in the very near future. Now this isn’t merely a post to appease to publishers, far from it… they’ve done some stupid things in the past and probably will again, that’s the way things work. Yet, I can’t help but be optimistic about its future and what is coming. For a little background I’ve been in publishing in a variety of roles, majority of it sales, for almost 15 years now both in the retail area and in the education market working with every library imaginable. I’ve seen a lot, both good and bad, but who doesn’t in any industry?
The reasons I see publishing succeeding is that we have a variety of passionate people out there that are trying to make a change whether the publishers want it or not. That’s awesome, we need those people, I’d lump myself into that category… although I don’t have a lot of pull, I’m still passionate about it, because of what publishing means, can mean and why we need it, to keep stories, history, knowledge around. I like the internet as much as anyone else, but we all have to admit, the info is only as good as the source and a lot of times, it’s pretty crappy. When I said there are passionate and vocal people out there in publishing, I’m not kidding.
In fact, here’s a list, now it’s not extensive and if you feel I left someone out, tell me and I’ll add them… I didn’t compile a list simply for the fact that it could be a post within itself. The industry needs to see who is busting their ass to save it and keep it going and make sure that it changes directions when it needs to. The biggest fail that any publisher can do is to not hire passionate people who love books, the printed word, the digital word and those that think so far out of the box it scares the hell out of you. Publishers need to do this, they need to find these people, hire them, pay them well.. this is key, you get what you pay for, pay lower and those with the high talent either won’t want to work with you or will not be as great at their job as they could be. What’s the problem with that, pay someone well and show them you believe in their worth and what they do, its common sense really.
I’d love to do a list of everyone but it might be easier to say follow the people who are on twitter #DBW hastag, or #ePrdctn or #ISBNhour. Follow these conversations and many more like them and you’ll see who they are that have a passion for the publishing industry. Follow me on twitter and you’ll find many of these innovators and optimists, I follow them, you might want to as well.
Now the reasons that publishing will survive thrive are tied to these people or those like them. People that want to turn the tanker of publishing around and are trying to find ways to do it that aren’t just to make a quick buck but that build sustainability and allow for growth year over year which is necessary. Publishers need to take chances and let those that have the unique views run with ideas and concepts, you never know what might happen. Too many times, the bean counters are running pub houses; which influences editing, acquiring materials and so on, it shouldn’t be that way, you need people who say I love publishing in all of its facets and let’s shake things up. Granted that big tanker of publishing is slow-moving, but you have to start somewhere and realize that if you are afraid to try it, then you should try it… because sitting by and doing the same old thing time after time and not having any results, that’s just crazy people, not the good kind of crazy, the other kind. eBooks are one way out, we also have apps now and transmedia, an ever developing model and the list goes on. There are options, we don’t need to say only this way or that way, why not try them all or experiment with them and see what works for your company or project. Let the innovators do their thing…innovate and come up with ideas, no matter how batty they may sound, ingenuity and creativity more than ever now needs to be at the forefront and publishers, customers and everyone involved needs to have a voice. All of these items I mention are what will keep publishing going, keep it creating and make it successful.
What are your thoughts though? Digital Book World has asked this many times, where do you see publishing going? What are you afraid of? What excites you? Who excites you in publishing? Find these ideas, concepts, people, companies and talk to them, listen, watch and take away an idea. Publishing isn’t dead, it’s in a fun house of mirrors trying to find its way out, so why not crack a few mirrors and maybe help show the way. If you don’t agree, tell me what you think are the reasons it will fail if you believe so or what do you see it needs to do to thrive and keep going.