Publish Online Or Perish?

The Standard has a good story on E-Books from the business point of view.

\"The book publishing industry relies on a business model that dates back centuries – and it likes it that way, thank you very much. While every other media industry has flocked to the Net, the staid book world has used the Web for merely advertising its latest releases.

But the page is turning. \"With a handful of Internet deals, declarations and innovations, book publishing is being thrown into flux. Last week, Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Middelhoff said the company\'s Random House unit plans to digitize nearly its entire list of books, paving the way, observers say, for electronic distribution on the Net. In November, Barnes & Noble snapped up a chunk of iUniverse, an on-demand electronic publisher. And last month horror-scribe Stephen King\'s publisher, Simon & Schuster, startled the book crowd by moving over 400,000 copies of his 66-page electronic novella in one day – exclusively over the Internet. The book\'s apt title: Riding the Bullet.

These moves threaten to shake the foundation that supports the $22 billion industry: the traditional relationships between booksellers and publishers, both trade and academic. \"You will see very, very soon authors become publishers,\" says Stephen Riggio, vice chairman and acting chief executive of \"You will see publishers become booksellers. You will see booksellers become publishers, and you\'ll see authors become booksellers.\"

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