Publishers Are Recovering

. . . While All About Them Are Losing Their Heads

Forget the myths: television did not doom the Hollywood blockbuster; video did not kill the radio star; the Internet is not ending the prime-time sitcom; and e-books will not shutter the publishing industry.

According to the recently released comprehensive survey, BookStats, the publishing industry expanded over the last three years while housing, autos, banking, the television networks, and our political institutions faltered.

Each industry adapted, some more successfully than others. Darwin’s theory of Evolution pertains. The weakest properties, channels, and business models have suffered, some to extinction — remember Microsoft BOB (1995)? Yet, good ideas took root. Smart, passionate innovators made them better with positive results. New media are multiplying audiences. Case in point: digital e-Readers.

Partly as a result of the sizzling pace of improvement of digital book devices and software, the e-book has rescued publishers, at least those able to perceive that consumer needs were changing and they could either adapt or find another line of work.  Unlike the recording industry’s resistance to home cassette recording and then Internet music sharing, the publishing industry saw the writing on the screen and a few publishers recalibrated their attitude and business model.

“We’re seeing a resurgence, and we’re seeing it across all markets — trade, academic, professional,” says Tina Jordan, vice president of the Association of American Publishers. “In each category we’re seeing growth.”

The Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group collaborated on the report, collecting data from 1,963 publishers the trade, K-12 school, higher education, professional and scholarly categories.

For the entire article in the New York Times, see