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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Radical Shift in the Publishing World

And none too soon.

Ironically, it dovetails nicely with my recent posts about how screwed up the traditional publishing business model really is.

HarperCollins recently announced that it is launching a new book imprint, and the model for it is rather radical. The publisher plans to focus sales through the Internet more than usual, will no longer accept returns from booksellers, will no longer pay sizeable advances to authors, and will not participate in paying co-op fees for placement programs. (Those books you see face out, on end caps, or on special tables are often there only because publishers paid money to put them there. Most people do not know this.)

This only makes sense and how the model fares will be interesting to watch, though it will take a few years to figure it all out. Still, entering this Brave New World might be akin to some far sighted seaman in, say, 1912, remembering to take binoculars into the crow's nest in time to spot any telltale water lapping at the bottom of an iceberg.

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal here.

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