STATUS: How the industry is shifting does make me lie awake at night.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? SHE WORKS HARD FOR THE MONEY by Donna Summer
And to piggy-back on to what I was writing about yesterday on the blog, I want to share this very interesting article by science writer Michael Nielsen.
I read his blog entry earlier this week and my mind has been in a whirl since. He tackles the question of whether scientific publishing is about to be disrupted but I think the parallels to traditional publishing are very clear.
In the article, Nielsen highlights the signs of impending disruption in the newspaper industry: “Five years ago, most newspaper editors would have laughed at the idea that blogs might one day offer serious competition. The minicomputer companies laughed at the early personal computers. New technologies often don’t look very good in their early stages, and that means a straight up comparison of new to old is little help in recognizing impending disruption. That’s a problem, though, because the best time to recognize disruption is in its early stages. The journalists and newspaper editors who’ve only recognized their problems in the last three to four years are sunk. They needed to recognize the impending disruption back before blogs looked like serious competitors, when evaluated in conventional terms.”
The signs of disruption in the publishing industry are already there. The big question is whether we’ve recognized them in time. The big publishers today are like the Titanic. Huge. Cumbersome. Potentially perceived as unsinkable. And yet, huge tech companies such as Google, Amazon, and the upstart Scribd are changing the face of publishing. What will the big publishers be like in five years? 10 years? They see the ice berg but can they turn in time?
I hope so. I don’t have any answers to share but I certainly see possibilities. Will they merge with big tech companies such as Google? That would not be surprising. What will the role of agent be as publishing transforms?
And digital is the key that has changed all of this.
And how interesting that I’m reading one of the more extraordinary articles to tackle this question on a blog. By a science writer. Not in a publishing industry magazine. Not in a newspaper.
That says a lot in and of itself.