Is Print Really Killing Publishers?

killingIf you read this blog regularly, you know we are big fans (usually) of Dead Tree Edition. The author consistently gives an insider’s perspective on the publishing industry that tends to cut through the clutter with an acerbic and insightful pen.

Last week’s post “Is Print Really Killing Publishers” is a good example. Like us, the author was flummoxed by Joe Wikert’s article in Book Business Magazine on how print is killing slowly exterminating publishers, due to their “reliance on print at the expense of digital transformation and growth.”

The article just doesn’t hold together, and Dead Tree Edition nailed the reason.

“Taken out of context, the word ‘publisher’ means so many different things to different people that it ceases to have meaning. When newspaper people say ‘publishing,’ they mean newspaper publishing. To magazine people, ‘publishing’ means mostly magazine publishing. And for folks in the book industry, ‘publishing’ means, believe it or not, book publishing.

There is no such thing as “the” publishing industry, he insists, only publishing industries.

“There is no single ‘digital transformation’ in any of the publishing industries,” he writes. “E-books dominate romance fiction but have hardly touched the world of art books on coffee tables. The web has wiped out much of the weekly newsmagazine business, but glossy fashion titles seem as healthy as ever.”

“Regardless which publishing industry you’re in, shibboleths (whether ‘print is dead’ or ‘print rules’) and simplistic solutions will end in disaster. Sorry, folks, there are no one-size-fits-all answers in this business,” Dead Tree Edition continues.

He’s got it. A good post, and worth the read.