Fewer Books in 2005 but More Electronics in 2006/Minorities Not Catered To

May 10, 2006

Fewer Books in 2005 but More Electronics?
AP quotes Gary Aiello, chief operating officer of Bowker, which compiles publishing stats, as saying, “In 2005, publishers were more cautious and disciplined when it came to their lists. We see that trend continuing in 2006.” Paper has doubled in price, making publishers, especially small publishers, more cautious. The number of books went down last year for the first time in six years. The report notes that U.S. Book production plummeted 18 percent, and smaller publishers show the largest drop in new titles. The report also notes that the U.K. Is leading the world in English language publishing. “Only the very large academic, professional, and trade publishers managed to publish close to the number of new titles and editions that they did in 2004. Output from the smallest publishers dropped by more than seven percent, while new titles from small-to-medium and medium-to-large publishers declined by 10 percent and 15 percent respectively.”

While the traditional form of publishing may wane, digital books might finally have found their book. (Although that has been said before.) Michael Fitzpatrick analyzes the future of digital books in his Telegraph essay “A Virtual Revolution.” He notes that the Dutch company iRex Technologies will put a massive library in our hands with a hand-held electronic book, called cutely iLiad. Sony will launch its e-book this summer. These are not one book readers, but libraries. Fitzpatrick asks: Would a device containing 1000 or so books in one slim volume “outweigh the sensory pleasures of a hardback?” Sounds good to me.

Minorities Not Catered To
According to a British Arts Council report, the book industry in England is not catering to minority ethnic readers, noting that only 50 of the top 5000 best-selling books in 2006 are by minority writers. Could the same be said of the American publishing industry?

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