Maybe. Probably. Certainly, to some degree, something needs to happen.
But when it comes to deciding what needs to be done, or how to do it, or why or when, that’s when conversations begin to get complicated, and even heated. In mid-October, Colin Robinson wrote an op-ed-style ten-point manifesto of sorts about the issue for the Guardian. I doubt that anyone will agree or disagree with all ten points (number two, for instance, is so ass-backwards it actually offends me), but it’s an interesting read nonetheless.
Here’s an excerpt:
This year, on the face of things, it’s been business as usual at the Frankfurt Book Fair … but scratch beneath the surface and a tangible unease about the future of the industry is evident: book sales are stagnating, profit margins are being squeezed by higher discounts and falling prices, and the distribution of book buyers is ever more polarised between record-shattering bestsellers and an ocean of titles with tiny readerships. The mid-list, where the unknown writer or new idea can spring to prominence, is progressively being hollowed out. This is bad news not just for publishing but for the culture at large.
Click here to read the read full article, and please feel free to add your thoughts—or even your own ideas about how the industry might be reformed, even in small ways—to the comments section below.