From The Guardian:
In the past 12 months, I’ve never bought fewer printed books – and I’ve never read so many books. I have switched to ebooks. My personal library is with me at all times, in my iPad and my iPhone (and in the cloud), allowing me to switch reading devices as conditions dictate. I also own a Kindle, I use it mostly during summer, to read in broad daylight: an iPad won’t work on a sunny cafe terrace.
. . . .
This leads to this thought about the coming ebook disruption: We’ve seen nothing yet. Eighteen months ago, I was asked to run an ebooks roundtable for the Forum d’Avignon (an ultra-elitist cultural gathering judiciously set in the Palais des Papes). Preparing for the event, I visited most of the French publishers and came to realise how blind they were to the looming earthquake. They viewed their ability to line up great authors as a seawall against the digital tsunami. In their minds, they might, at some point, have to make a deal with Amazon or Apple in order to channel digital distribution of their oeuvres to geeks such as me. But the bulk of their production would sagely remain stacked on book stores’ shelves. Too many publishing industry professionals still hope for a soft transition.
. . . .
“Vanity publishing” was often seen as the lousiest way to land on a book store shelf. In a country such as France, with a strong history of magisterial publishing houses, confessing to being published “à compte d’auteur” (at the writer’s expense) results in social banishment. In the UK or the US, this is no longer the case. Trade blogs and publications are filled with tales of out-of-nowhere self-publishing hits, or of prominent authors switching to DIY mode, at once cutting off both agent and publisher.
. . . .
Amazon is intent on taking over the bulk of the publishing business by capturing key layers of intermediation. At some point, for the market’s upper crust, by deploying agents under the leadership of Mr Kirshbaum and of its regional surrogates, Amazon will “own” the entire talent-scouting food chain. For the bottom-end, a tech company like Amazon is well-positioned for real-time monitoring and early detection of an author gaining traction in e-sales, agitating on the blogosphere or buzzing on social networks. (Pitching such schemes to French éditeurs is like speaking Urdu to them.)
Link to the rest at The Guardian