Tomorrow, Apple’s iTablet will be released. A New York Times article spells out the hopes of book and magazine publishers. Will Steve Jobs save print media from its current dilemmas? When Amazon.com’s eReader, Kindle, began to show signs of having legs, I said this might send the publishing world into a tizzy, and when Kindle sold more eBooks than traditional books this holiday season everyone began shouting about the sky falling. Personally, I’m thrilled to have the dinosaur industry I love forced to evolve. If it takes the iTablet to do it, goody for all of us, especially authors who have seen book publishers’ advances and payouts decline over the years ($5000 split into 1/3 on signing 1/3 on d&a, 1/3 on pub? Really? That broke?)–a decline that has coincided with less marketing support and editorial and marketing expertise. And how long have we been hearing about how publishers really have to do something about the problem of allowing booksellers to return unsold copies years after they were purchased? I first heard the musings around 1987 when I joined the biz, a literary agent who’s a bit older than I am claims she first heard them sometime in the 1970s. No, you don’t get 23 years to solve a problem, folks, before it bites you in the booty!
I say this all with love and affection, of course. I love my industry but really, it’s time to move out of the basement, get a real job and business model, and spread your wings like a big boy.