Monday, October 29, 2012


The shrinking world of publishing.

We've all been concerned over the shrinking world of independent bookstores, with our wonderful Books on Beechwood in Ottawa being the latest scheduled for closure (early in the new year). Also, there's the fact that the book sections in the large Chapters/Indigo chain appear to be shrinking in favour of more gift items...a trend that's been going on for a while now.

We've also heard about bankruptcies of various publishing houses over the past few years. Now there's another reason to be concerned with the news that Random House and the Penguin group, two of the largest publishing houses around, are talking merger.

So what's brought this on? Are they being prudent and looking at the future or are there money concerns for one or both at this point? A merger would certainly take care of that, making one major stronghouse in publishing with a lot of assets attached.

The downside of course, is what happens to the authors? And, the readers? The'A' list authors have no need to fear, I'm sure, but what about the others? Those working hard at making a name for themselves and the resulting sales? And those trying hard to get a toe into the publishing ranks? What will become of them?

Publishing their own e-books, you say? I'm certain that will be the route the majority will take. But I still mourn the inevitable loss of a large variety of authors available in print. And what about the reader? Those who don't have and won't ever own an e-reader? Those who already have favourite authors they're following, who might suddenly not be in print any longer? Less choice cannot be a good thing.

Of course, this may not happen but in this quickly changing world of publishing, we know that the status quo is never a sure thing.

What are your thoughts about it? Is there any way this can be a good thing? Or is it writer -- and reader -- beware?

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase

Berkley Prime Crime, now available
READ and BURIED, coming Dec., 2012, available for pre-order

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