I’m back from TOC and still mulling over the problems, and maybe some solutions to problems in the publishing business. There are lots, but a fundamental problem seems to be that most publishing houses have never had much to do with their readers. Their clients, traditionally, have been book stores. And outsourcing relationships with the people who are your reason for existence is a bad idea.
If you look at the talk around the perilous state of the publishing business, and the challenges of ebooks and DRM and digital and the web, it ends up being this old sad story of: “How do we maintain our financial viability when fewer people are reading?” And not, “What do readers want and how can we best provide it?” [more…]