Can Book Publishing Retain Its Most Precious Asset? has a Story that points out how much pressure publishers are under.

\"The Internet changes the entire dynamics of publishing. When Stephen King\'s words can be packaged into a PDF file and downloaded by anyone with a computer in a few minutes, one must begin to question what his publisher, Simon & Schuster, is doing to earn its share of the income pie.\"

There are signs that at least a few publishers are seeing the threat posed to their traditional ways by the Internet. Look at sites from Simon & Schuster and Little, Brown and Co., for example, and you\'ll see signs of web savviness. Simon & Schuster makes a big pitch for e-books, even if the options for accessing them aren\'t entirely clear. Little, Brown promotes live chats with authors and free excerpts of popular books. Others, like Harper-Collins and John Wiley & Sons, seem to be stuck in neutral, focusing entirely on describing their latest printed bound volumes.

I don\'t envy the challenge facing publishers. They need to do something much more difficult than shedding their tweedy ways — they need to demonstrate their value in the knowledge-distribution food chain. And they need to do that in the face of a daunting reality: The Internet opens up for authors, the publishers\' main asset, the heady possibility of freedom — freedom to communicate directly with readers around the world, freedom to publish their works quickly, and freedom at long last to earn a much larger share of each publishing dollar.

It\'s heady stuff. Once people catch the scent of freedom in the air, it\'s hard to get them to listen to reason.

Subscribe to Comments for "Can Book Publishing Retain Its Most Precious Asset?"