The Writers in the Silos, by Heidi Julavits

September 28, 2015

In 2008, Heidi Julavits published a marvelous short piece, The Writers in the Silos, a satirical glance at where writing and publishing is headed in “our current conglomerating, lowest­-common-denominator, demographically target­ed publishing industry.” I fell in love with it and bought the rights to reproduce the article on The Future of Publishing. As its buried somewhere at the back of my site, I like to pull it out on occasion for a new group of readers. Here you go:

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Is Publishing a Complex Industry?

March 15, 2015

I’m thinking about complex industries. I’m thinking of…

  • Pharmaceuticals (you might check out 23andMe, “a personalized DNA service”)
  • The design and launch of high-tech products (the intriguing Apple Watch)
  • Aerospace (think Airbus A350 XWB)
  • Launching a new car company (think Tesla)
  • Telecommunications (“rewiring” the Internet to reconfigure performance)

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The Top Book Publishing Trends and Opportunities

January 10, 2015

Digital Book World asked me to prepare a white paper examining the most important developing trends in book publishing. The white paper was published in December and is available for download (PDF). (more…)

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How Amazon Destroyed the Publishing Ecosystem

March 12, 2014

Everyone takes a shot at Amazon, and it’s not difficult to see why. Founder/CEO Jeff Bezos is blamed for just about every corporate crime imaginable, from pricing that destroys competition to suffocating warehouse employees on hot summer days (apparently no longer a problem).

My criticism of Amazon is about an issue perhaps more subtle, but, in my view far more serious. Amazon has destroyed the publishing industry by destroying its well-honed ecosystem. Sure, all of the other issues and criticisms stay on the table. This issue is for me the heart of darkness of our beleaguered industry. (more…)

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Addicted to Change

October 23, 2013

Like most tech-dominated industries publishing is addicted to change. This addiction even has a scientific name: neophilia, in contrast with neophobia, a condition more traditionally associated with publishing (I chuckled when I read in the Wikipedia entry: “Neophobia is a common finding in aging animals…”). (more…)