Remember all the dire predictions that the Internet would be the end of books? That instead of buying a paperback, we’d just download it straight into our frontal lobe, collectively bringing an end to the book industry? Apparently, now that they’ve calmed down and done some research, publishers are saying the Internet and online book retailing hasn’t destroyed them.
In a recent press briefing, Penguin Chief Executive and Chairman John Makinson said that EBay reselling and e-books hadn’t made the impact they’d expected, and that the Internet had become a useful tool for marketing and market research. He says that unlike the music industry, people want the actual, physical book. And where music consumers want tracks instead of the whole album, no book consumer just wants a few chapters instead of the whole book.
We blogged recently that Penguin has just set up Spinebreakers, a book news website for and created by teenagers. Other sources indicate UK publisher Bloomsbury has just cut a deal with Microsoft. It seems publishers are getting used to the big scary internet, after all.