The New, New Thing

October 2000
by Jan Nathan, PMA Executive Director

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E-publishing, e-books, e-commerce. These are the buzz words of this year. And they are the topics of most publishers’ conversations when they meet. Last month I attended a full-day gathering of industry people at the American Booksellers Association in New York. Half the day was spent on discussing mid-list authors and their influence on publishing. The other half of the day was spent on the “e” topic. This group consisted of publishers from the major houses in New York, publishers of independent houses throughout the US, representatives from associations who directly interact with the publishing community, distributors and wholesalers, and independent bookstore owners. What became most clear to me through these discussions is that everyone’s equally as puzzled as to the effect on our industry of Print-on-Demand and electronic books. Everyone, however, is scrambling to make sure that their books are available in every conceivable format “just in case.” It seems as if an inordinate amount of money is being spent on making sure that all books are formatted properly and will be available in whatever type of e-publishing that finally takes off. With these new definitions of what constitutes a “book,” it seems like no book will ever go out of print. In some cases, this is really good; in others, I question the reasoning of this thinking. Books go out of print, many times, because the information they offer is no longer current or valid. Do we really want to keep these books a…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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