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Less than a week left until The New Dead is published, and yet another glowing advance review appears, and again my short story, “What Maisie Knew,” get a positive mention — this time from Fantasy Book Critic.  Maybe I have a future in this whole zombie thing.  Though I tend to doubt it.  I was going to write all about how you can’t buy this book on Amazon because of Macmillan’s feud with the on-line book seller (home of the soon to be formerly-popular Kindle), but apparently the corporate entitities have kissed and made up.  Isn’t that nice?

Like most writers, I suppose, I am very frequently asked to opine prophetically on the future of the publishing industry.  While asking for a writer’s opinion on the business end of publishing is a little like asking for a florist’s predictions about global warming, I nevertheless have my own ideas about how the industry is going to shape up in the years ahead and I am happy to share them.  My clever notions are more or less echoed in a moderately interesting op-ed that appeared in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week.  John Makinson, CEO of the Penguin Group, predicts that every little thing’s gonna be alright as long as the industry provides readers with what they want to buy.  The one element he leaves out, however, is how the retailer will do in the coming market.  I, for one, immensely value the role of booksellers in helping to promote books, as well as for providing a place for readers to brows.  When discussing the comparison’s with the record industry, Makinson is happy to make the problem of piracy disappear with a wave of the hand, but he never addresses the fact that is no longer any such thing as a record store.  I am all for ebook readers and on-line vendors, but if book stores were to go the same way, the industry as a whole would likely suffer soon enough. Don’t you think?

One Response to “”

  1. Jeff says:

    I agree. I am not very comfortable ordering books by new authors online, let alone in electronic format. I discover most new authors (including you) by browsing at the book store. However, other readers who use the internet more extensively than I do may not feel the need to shop the same way.

    To continue with the music analogy, remember that records were replaced by tapes and CDs, which are still physical media. Even now stores are still selling CDs although we can buy music in electronic format, and music has been available in this format for much longer than books. I have no data to support this, but I still suspect that selling of CDs is a dying business due to the prevalence of electronic media.

    It is very difficult to predict the future. Sometimes ideas and innovations have unintended and unpredicted effects. Certainly some buyers will purchase fewer books if hard copies are harder to obtain in the future, but maybe the industry can grow faster in the long run.

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