Will Print Be Extinct ? Again?
And it seems the sauntering pace of technology has launched into an instant-access gallop, threatening to leave movable type even farther behind. E-books alone may not be eating away at confidence in print. The bigger issue for many is competition for a shrinking audience. In July 2004, the National Endowment for the Arts' report Reading at Risk announced findings of a significant decline in the number of readers in the U.S.
As Jeff Abraham of the Book Industry Study Group explains in "The State of the Industry" feature, "We see the continuation of a flat, if not declining trend in unit sales, and a modest increase in revenue from the sale of books. This continues an existing trend of several years and has many publishers concerned about a pie that is not growing."
Despite these challenges, there is a bright side, too. Manufacturers are investing, a sign they may smell the scent of increased demand in the wind. As do many others, according to last month's report on BookTech Magazine's "2005 Industry Outlook Survey": Two-thirds of the industry have a positive business outlook for this year. Some reasons for this outlook are discussed in "The State of the Industry" feature, where industry leaders point out not only a few major opportunities in book publishing, but also the characteristics they see as essential to the successful book publisher of the future … and the successful future of the printed book.