Monday, April 19, 2010

The iPod and Publishing

100426_r19553_p233[1] I haven’t read it all, no time, but this article, Publish or Perish, is a great look at the publishing business. I caught it from Tim O’Reilly on Twitter, and while I do think it misses some points, it does say, as I believe, that the publishers are missing the point. They think they’re in the book business. They’re not. They are in the entertainment business.

The other thing that annoys me is that publishers say they are losing money on e-books, getting $9, not $13 per book. However they don’t have returns with e-books. No $5.20 charge against inventory, shipping, etc.

Publishers are hurting, no doubt, and the entertainment-TV-movie generation doesn’t help people read more books. However I also don’t know that publishing is a bad business. It’s just not the multi-million dollar business that gets you a building like this, the Random House building in NY.


It also doesn’t get you a 48,000 sq foot building in NY, which is what MacMillan is looking to sublease.

Get used to publishing as a new business, one that doesn’t necessarily make you huge profits. Understand that publishing is a business, not an investment.

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