Minor musings on publishing

I’ve been reading some of Alistair Horne’s tweets marked #pubnow on Twitter, following some of Richard Charkin’s comments in his talk.

One of his tweets is that financial publishers are transforming themselves into an information platform, following another that academic publishers are joining together to create platforms. It seems that there is some confusion, if not fear, about the future of publishing.

The idea of publishing as information, that it could be a platform, which either gives away or sells the information to the end user. The idea of a book needs to broaden from the idea of the end physical object and into the data leading to it (for academic publishing) or perhaps notes or edits for fiction.

In the Guardian Review today, Kathryn Hughes has a wonderful article on the re-rise of the beautifully designed book. It seems that physical book is being rethought as a physical object which could conceivably be kept, rather than being seen as a consumable. I’m in awe of the cover of Erin Morgenstern’s Night Circus and will treasure that hardback; that it is incredibly well written is another keeping factor here, of course. I’ve been looking at the Vintage Modern Classic books and the Faber poetry hardbacks with a desire to sit in the shop and stroke the covers.

Publishing has a wonderful future ahead of it, not only a glorious past. There are moves in the industry to the new future which bode well on the fringes as well as in the forward thinking houses. Looking forward to seeing what happens. I’m trying to keep this in mind for various forthcoming projects.