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Cheshire Henbury— The Future of Book Publishing

Does the book publishing industry have a future? Will the physical book still exist in 10 years time? Will authors still need literary agents, and if so what will be their role? All interesting questions for authors, and highly relevant ones too, given the changes that are taking place in the book publishing business.

It is evident that traditional publishers have been slow to wake up to the challenges and opportunities posed by eBooks. Not surprising though, as this is a feature of most businesses that become trapped in the past. Publishing today is ripe for a massive transformation—a paradigm shift. Underlying this will be Information and Communication Technologies, and not just the eBook, but other technologies as well.

Least you think that this it just about technology, we also mention here that the nature of the novel itself is also now open to redefinition, and this web site is just one potential aspect of the innovation that becomes possible once authors, with the constraints imposed by literary agents and publishers removed, once again, take control of their art. The book market is becoming very fragmented and there is an increasing aversion to risk taking on the part of big publishers and retailers (which is not unconnected with their over riding interest in creating returns for their institutional investors). This is an opportunity for a power shift, a turning of the tables, where authors become the people with the power, and the ones who do the rejecting (of literary agents and publishers).

So, can authors create new business models, financially beneficial to writers, which will render obsolete both traditional publishers and book retailers and all the conventional book processing infrastructure and technology that they need? And in doing so, can we show other traditional manufacturing industries the way forward and what innovation really means? In due course we will tell you the answers to these questions ...

 
 
 

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