Is the Print-and-Pray Model of Book Publishing Dead?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

Publishers typically can’t predict bestsellers. Wouldn’t a better model be to bring the customers to them first?

fingers crossed

Today’s lead story looks at F+W Media’s development of vertical market communities. The traditional model of book publishing has been “horizontal”: print, distribute (usually through intermediaries), publicize and hope for the best. The “vertical” model is predicated to a large extent on attracting the customer first and keeping them, by working with them to develop products, be they books, videos, Webinars or whatnot, that they desire.

Increasingly, this looks like a smarter way of doing ┬ábusiness than the “print and pray” horizontal model. Honest publishers are quick to admit that they often have only an inkling of what might sell and that they are extremely vulnerable to the vagaries of the marketplace. In light of all the changes in publishing (and you know what they are: e-books, self-motivated authors, shaky economy) can an exclusively horizontal publisher hope to survive for another five, ten or twenty years?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.