The Publishing Point

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Part 4/7: Mike Shatzkin, "Planning for a Long Career in an Industry that's Changing"

Part 4/7: 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 5:55pm
Takeaways: The ebook edition on a major fiction book is currently ~ 5% of the hardcover units, but ebooks continue to grow by double digits (or more). Eventually authors may try to retain ebook rights. Publishers are currently indicating that they are not interested in acquiring print rights only. Publishers with extensive email lists and social media properties have a marketing cost structure advantage. Publishers need vertical communities of interest so that consumers are willing to opt in to email lists based on their interests and felt needs. Every company that creates marketing or product information is a publisher. Every blogger or web site owner is a publisher. New tools for creating enhanced/multimedia ebooks are becoming available. In the future, every web site will have an ebook store customized for their interests.

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