On the Waves of Change
Written by Marcus Grimm
Adobe guru Bill McCoy had some choice words for digital publishing fans this week:
"However, a sea-change is clearly under way. Google and Amazon are scanning books and making page-images available. Pirate eBooks are circulating, sometimes within hours of being published in print form. A new "digital generation" is clearly going to expect the option to read on screens. Other parts of the print publishing industry have moved more rapidly: Elsevier now makes over 50 percent of their academic journal revenue from digital subscriptions, and the trend to what they call ‘E-Only’ subscriptions is growing sharply, and in the tech sphere O’Reilly Safari appears to be doing quite well. Libraries are also acting as change agents, since digital distribution yields immense gains in efficiency and patron access; publishers realize that it’s unreasonable to expect to hold libraries back from going digital.
"As a result book publishers – across all segments – feel their hands are being forced and are preparing to make all of their content available digitally. They are absolutely afraid that their business models, indeed the whole industry, may well change in fundamentally disruptive ways, but it’s clear that the book business, like Hollywood, has collectively decided not to sit on the sidelines while Amazon, Google, piracy, and the Web do the disrupting. Their intentions are laid out in recent initiatives announced by Random House and HarperCollins, among others."