Thursday, February 19, 2009

Kindle 2 Part II

Geoff Walker, publishing director of Penguin Books in New Zealand, writes:
It’s fascinating stuff all right. I actually agree to a large extent with John Makinson that publishers will and/or can benefit from digital publishing. It’s the conservative bookseller trade that should be shivering in their shoes, because in the long run they could be left stranded.

I think that for us the big danger is in a possible transition period (some say it has arrived) with bookshop sales softening and falling but income from e-books and the like not rising at the same rate. So our businesses could be in some trouble.

Penguin overseas is devoting huge efforts to adapt and to produce e-books. Us too: all our one-colour new books now have digital e-book files prepared at the same time as the physical book pages, ready to go.

The Kindle is being used in US publishing in-house. Editors now travel around with page proofs on their devices in digital form. Manuscripts too. And on the Metro, of course, they also read the New York Times and Publishers News.

I’m really impressed by the thought that these e-book reading devices are actually quite conservative in construction and use. They’re not very hi-tech, so it’s existing book buyers who are using them.

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