The Publishing Point

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Part 3/7: Mike Shatzkin, "Planning for a Long Career in an Industry that's Changing"

Part 3/7: Mike Shatzkin, a highly respected and experienced consultant, was a recent speaker in The Publishing Point’s series of lunchtime talks. Speaking to a packed house at Hachette and delivering what proved to be a thought-provoking and farsighted view of the future of the book industry, Mike had some clear advice for those planning a long career in publishing: the companies that will succeed will be those that focus on building compelling content for well-defined “vertical communities.” Consolidation among the largest trade houses was inevitable, with the big six shrinking to two in the next 10 years, Shatzkin predicted. Delivered in his characteristically forthright style, Mike’s presentation also included some fascinating insights into topical controversies: the pricing war between Amazon and publishers, the scheduling of e-book releases, and much more.

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Comment by Pete Nikolai on December 18, 2009 at 5:41pm
Takeaways: Technology is making it easy to augment words on the page/screen. TBD: the percent of readers who will prefer augmented/multimedia books and the percent who will prefer text only. Prior to print-on-demand and extensive used book sales, consumers could pick from only ~ 150,000 titles. Now they can pack from millions--and do (long tail)--but the total number of units sold has not increased substantially and so mid-list sales are being diluted. Amazon uses $9.99 ebooks of the top sellers by brand authors to reduce the overall cost of a Kindle (improve the "value proposition"). A major point of conflict may develop over who gets to sell the ebook and make the money...

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