What is Your Greatest Fear for the Future of Publishing?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

Eric Frank, co-founder of Flat World Knowledge, describes the bizarre evolution of the contemporary textbook into “Frankentext,” — what he calls a “overstuffed, overpriced, and unloved” monster.

To Frank, the current academic publishing scene is a horror story.

Of course, Frank is not alone in looking across the book publishing landscape and seeing monsters. For some, it’s Amazon.com, others think its conglomerate publishing readers, others are worried that digital distractions have turned readers into disengaged, disinterested zombies?

Personally, I’m quite sanguine about the future of publishing, but my biggest fear is that publishers have taken their role as curators of the culture too casually, and are too tolerant of mediocrity, and thus are frittering away their credibility in pursuit of a mass audience. Why aren’t there more books that people absolutely need to read, rather than merely want to read?

So, tell us, what is your greatest fear for the future of publishing?

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

Edward Nawotka is the Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. A former foreign correspondent, he has covered the book business exclusively since 2000, serving as daily news editor for Publishers Weekly and columnist for Bloomberg News.