Brave New World of Book Publishing
The world of book publishing continues to evolve at a rapid pace with the news that CBS Corp.'s Simon & Schuster Inc., Pearson PLC's Penguin Group (USA) and Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group will soon launch a website called Bookish that will sell physical and digital books.
This site will include elements of social proof as people will apparently be able to recommend books to their friends.
As a book author with both a traditionally published book (now self-published as the rights reverted) and two originally self-published books, I am somewhat dubious that this joint effort will be a successful enterprise.
Why would people choose to go to a site called Bookish (rather a silly name) when there are already so many other social media sites on which people recommend books to their friends?
Is this new site going to undercut Amazon's prices? If not (and price wars are usually a mistake), why would you go to Bookish to get books only from these three publishers when you could go to Amazon and get everything?
Look, I understand why book publishers are worried. If I were a book publisher I'd be worried too.
With the advent of ebooks, Kindle, etc. I do believe that traditional publishing will soon go the way of video stores and other old technology platforms. (The one exception might be that the biggest selling authors could still be traditionally published.)
Instead of recreating the wheel (an Amazon clone rather late to the online book selling business), why not create a truly innovative publishing platform that will allow much more democratic access to publishing while still providing profit to the few publishers that remain standing?
I understand that I am suggesting a major shakeup of the publishing industry. But this will happen sooner or later (witness the music industry).
It seems to me that top publishing houses would be wise to truly innovate now rather than passively accepting becoming dinosaurs. Creating a new website to sell books is surely not the answer.