Even if the dominant players in a staid, legacy industry see the writing on the wall — that the Internet will eventually kill them — it’s not easy for them to do much about it.
Some publishers are merely waiting for Amazon to put them out of business.
. . . .
Macmillan Publishing has taken an entirely different route altogether. It’s one that, until now, has remained relatively under the radar. The company hired Troy Williams, former CEO of early e-book company Questia Media, which sold to Cengage. Macmillan gave him a chunk of money and incredibly unusual mandate:
Build a business that will undermine our own.
The publishing giant has given Williams a sum greater than $100 million (he won’t say exactly how much) to acquire ed-tech startups that will eventually be the future of Macmillan. The plan is to let them exist autonomously like startups within the organization, as Macmillan transitions out of the content business and into educational software and services. Through the entity, called Macmillan New Ventures, Williams plans to do five deals this year and 10 to 15 over the course of the next five years.
. . . .
But what do those inside Macmillan think about his plan to kill their business?
Long pause. “I don’t know.”
“At the highest levels, everybody thinks it’s where we need to go. But they think it’s 15 to 20 years off,” Williams says. “I think it’s seven to ten. The people at the very top plan to be retired in 20 years so they think they have enough runway.”
Link to the rest at PandoDaily