Thursday, May 1, 2008

BoSacks Speaks Out: What is happening in our industry?

BoSacks Speaks Out: What is happening in our industry?

What is happening in our industry? Where are we going? And if we are going anywhere, how are we going to get there? Being dead center of the publication information fulcrum as I am, I see it all, hear it all, and well know that I don't know it all. But I do know quite a few things.

I will briefly lay out a few thoughts for your perusal and feedback.

1) Although changing, the publishing industry is not leaving this planet. It is not dying, nor even unwell. It is robust and merely going through a mighty technological transformation, a metamorphosis if you will, of huge proportions and reach. We are growing into something else. Our reach, our ability to find readership is stronger than ever. Our once small pond of potential readers has grown to an ocean. And it is no longer a one-way street. We can write and distribute our product and our readers can write/vent/agree right back at us and to our other readers too. The old one-way street is now a multi-pathed intersection of six lane highways with traffic in all directions

2) Printers should have no fear; they will do fine in the next phase of publishing. They may print shorter runs of magazines, but will no doubt print more titles, not fewer. And as everybody knows, printers make most of their profit on make-readies. So this could/should be considered a good thing. Those printers that are efficient, technologically astute and embrace the new workflows will prosper.

3) It can be a writers/editors dream world. There are more ways for writers to have an outlet then ever before. The potential of sustained readership is almost unlimited. And as always the proof is in the pudding. If it is a worthwhile set of words strung together in an interesting fashion, there is always hope for writers' revenue. One man on a small island in a small lake in the upstate Berkshire Mountains of New York can communicate daily with the world at large. And they in turn can talk back to same niche global group.
It is a cultural and professional exchange and every member benefits from the exposure.

4) Production and circulation professionals will still be needed to put it all together and sling the written product around the globe, either in print or in a digital format. Will they be called production personnel or circulators? I have no idea. But the functions and the responsibilities remain the same. Somebody writes, somebody sells and somebody distributes with the best technology at hand.

So as we move forward through this transformation nothing has changed except our efficiency to do better at what we already do - distribute thought and ideas; that is, communication. We sell and monetize a compendium of stored memory, things that our readers didn't know or wanted to know more of.

What do you think? Do you think I overstate the case? Are you ready to fly? Are you ready to move into the next golden age of publishing?

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