Jeff Jarvis posted a great recap of Mike Shatzkin’s speech: The End of General Trade Publishing Houses: Death or Rebirth in a Niche-by-Niche World, given last week at the BookExpo America in New York. The gist of his talk is what you hear at every major media event here in the U.S. and throughout the world, be it newspaper, book, magazine publishing or radio and TV: The general trade publishing model — by which we mean publishing across subjects on very much a title-by-title basis and with the organizing principle being that books are produced for general audiences — will, mostly, not survive the changes of the next 15 or 20 years.
Some of Shatzkin’s money quotes on publishing:
And we are definitely not saying that long form reading is doomed over the next two decades, although we don’t think anybody really knows how much it will be reduced by changes in attention spans and information absorption habits of the generations that are kids today and those that will follow them.
On the future of book publishing:
The “publishers” in this niche will be members of the community. Marketing will be through them. In a digital world, much of the distribution will be through them. You either own the tollgate or you pay at it.
Both the speech and Jarvis’ post are long reads, but worth every word.