This is another piece I found on my Mike's Writing Workshop Group that I belong to on Yahoogroups.com:
David Didriksen, a bookstore from Massachusetts had an interesting
op/ed in 12/22/08 Shelf Awareness:
"These are hard times for our publishing brethren, and by extension,
for booksellers as well. Large publishers have been placing a
moratorium on new titles, laying off workers, firing executives and
scrambling to downsize. The lay-offs are likely to continue and
booksellers are the ones most likely to feel the aftershock."
Mr. Didriksen lists the following issues:
**an industry bloated by years of inefficiency
**cranking out too many inferior products, while failing to leverage
the best assets in its portfolio: backlist titles
**publishers that have commoditized themselves into a corner, trying
to live solely off blockbusters for the benefit of huge mass market
chains and Amazon.
As an aside, I was struck by how similar this list is to the issues
facing American automakers: failure to adapt to new technology and
focusing on short-term best-selling products instead of thinking
ahead to the future." -- This comment is from Maya, the person who brought the piece to the group, and I have to agree with it. I think the big thing, for me, is failure to adapt to new technology, but focusing on the short term hasn't helped the industry either.
". . . publishers could benefit from new efficiencies and creative
new initiatives. Publishers might even rediscover the intrinsic value
of backlist sales . . . And Amazon is getting so powerful, it may
someday wonder whether it needs publishers at all."
"Booksellers and publishers once acted as partners in the book
industry, developing authors and promoting backlist titles, before
the lure of quick bucks in mass merchandising channels changed the
relationship. Now may be a good time to get back to basics and do
business together again if we all want to survive."
This may help the traditional market right now and act like a transition tool like the hybrid is for the auto industry. (what a comparison!)
Getting back to basics will help, I think. We've become so bloated on "I want it right now" and "mass marketing" techniques, I think we've gotten away from the more personalized touch of traditional publishing and marketing.
From seeing articles like these, I'm not surprised the publishing world needs restructuring, just like the auto industry. Let's see what happens...