Is the Future of Publishing with the Big Six or Start-ups?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

Today, we have the Big Six. In 2020 how many of them will have survived?


By Edward Nawotka

When it comes to book publishing, corporate ownership has been a mixed blessing. In the past 20 years, large corporations invested unheard-of sums of money into book publishing, a business that has had flat or modest growth for more of recent memory, and would have likely been unable to find such large cash infusions any other way. On the other hand, it has also meant a surprising number of changes to the business — from streamlining staffs (i.e. layoffs) to a repositioning of the trade toward increasingly commercial and derivative properties (do we honestly need dozens if not hundreds vampire/zombie/apocalypse novels published a year?).

Today, we have the Big Six. In 2020, how many of them will have survived? In your estimation does the future of publishing lie with the Big Six or Start-ups? Will the conglomerates become increasingly impatient with their book publishing arms as profits and margins get sliced even more thinly by digitization? What of the future of cross fertilization between book publishing and other digital media companies? How much will that change the face of book publishing?

Pull out your crystal ball — we know you have one — and 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.