Publishing in 2007 . . . and beyond

Eoin Purcell

I am not big on predictions, certainly not in the sense of being able to predict what will happen in a given year. That is why I really enjoyed this post on PersonaNonData today. There is a lot to what he is saying but one of the key paragraphs is this:

In publishing, social networking, wikis and blogs etc. will become the primary publishing platform for educational publishing. Currently, the environment is anarchic and it is hard to see how the formula heavy education market could leverage this technology to produce a better product. I think it is inevitable.

It reminds me of a great book I read called Nine Shift which I am fairly sure I mentioned before (indeed I did) and should be read by anyone thinking of predicting. The most important thing about PersonaNonData’s post though is that it goes a very long way towards explaining the kafuffle below.

The News: doom, gloom and for sales signs
It has been a busy few days for news and much of it reflects the state of play in the book trade. It really kicked off with the news of AMS’s failure (also covered well by Richard Charkin, and tonnes of links to be had and read at Edward Champion’s blogsome more on Chekhov’s Mistress and last but 0f course not least the NYT).

Then came the rather more happy news that Wolters Kluwer was selling its educational publishing arm and expected according to some reports to glean €700 million from it. Given that Riverdeep acquired Houghton Mifflin recently, and that as the reports suggest there are some pretty serious bidders about, I’d say the valuation looks pretty good. What is more I suspect we will see the valuations of education publishers stay firm as companies shift ground to accommodate the changes that are discussed by PersonaNonData. You should read his post and the book to get a clear idea of what they entail!

Enjoying an early evening in!

I like this though it makes me sad!

Eoin Purcell

book/daddy (A new find for me) has a great but unsettling post about exactly how rare it is to find stimulating book chat in your daily life. I have taken a large chunk from the piece but it is much better in the whole:

Actually, books have rarely been a topic of conversation in offices or parties — unless it’s among a select group of people who just happen to be avid readers and who happen to have read the book under discussion or at least read reviews of it or perhaps an interview with the author or perhaps even just an earlier work by her. If you think about that, you realize how small or rare such a happenstance would be. If you’re already hammering away at your keyboard to tell me how wrong I am, how you enjoy such casual bookchat everyday at work, you must realize how fortunate/educated/isolated you are. It’s a chief reason people join bookclubs or attend literary series in the first place: They don’t have enough ordinary literary discussion in their lives, so they have to organize some.

January seems to be moving along nicely (thank god!)