Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch on the Future of Publishing
I’ve been hearing about the demise of book publishing since the first day I stepped through the doors of a publisher back in 1978. But here we are still, publishers like Little, Brown, with histories going back 100 and 200 years. What other American industry has companies still in existence after two centuries, evolving and modernizing but still doing much the same work? The most recent variant of the death watch: A digital revolution would cause ebooks to replace printed ones, authors would overwhelmingly choose self-publishing, and publishers would follow carriage makers into oblivion.
After several years of rapid ebook growth, their sales topped out at about one-quarter of publishers’ revenues and have declined for a year. Print books have proved durable because, as a format, they’re simply hard to improve on.