Editor’sNote: The Deluge
Brian Howard, Editor-in-Chief, Book Business Magazine
Hi, Book Business readers. As Editorial Director Noelle Skodzinski wrote in this space in the previous issue, I'm the new editor in town. I started at Book Business at the end of September 2011. On my second day, Amazon officially announced its baby tablet, the Kindle Fire, and we were all off to the races. Over the last few months, book publishing has been awash in a tsunami of e-book, e-reader, app and tablet-related news. There are two reasons for this deluge. One is that the consumer media views the rise of the e-book as a perfect storm, the convergence of shiny new thing (gadgets!) and massive cultural paradigm shift ("PRINT IS DEAD!" they shout). The other reason is that, well, there is a gadget- and e-book-related sea change afoot. A little tremor in the cold, digital depths of the publishing ocean has manifested on shore as an e-book tidal wave.
With the blood still in the water from the Borders' bankruptcy, Amazon and B&N (and to lesser degrees Kobo, Sony, Google and Apple) flooded the market with newer and cheaper devices and apps for screen reading. If holiday sales reports are to be believed, there's now a whole new segment of consumers in the market for e‑books, mobile books, book apps and the like than there were this time last year.
What may be overlooked is that print is still the lion's share of publishing revenues. Yes, that share is being progressively chipped away. And it'd probably be myopic not to at least anticipate a future where print is a small slice of the pie. But the technology of the printed page is still preferred by a large chunk of the market. Which means we've got a window of time during which we can navigate these choppy waters, and leverage the powers of print and digital together.