MultiGrain Discussion: "Gloom and Doom"

by | Sep 1, 2011 | 4 comments

by Tom Gilson, Associate Editor,

In a recent post to Scholarly Kitchen (The Eve of Destruction,” Now on YouTube), Joe Esposito bemoans the “gloom and doom” that the publishing industry is constantly mired in. “It is the prevailing narrative, and it has been at least since I got into this business 30 years ago.” Joe even notes some of the things that he thinks are contributing to all the pessimism like:

  • “Library funding … in secular decline
  • digital technology alter the cost structure of publishing
  • competition from other media
  • the open access and “information wants to be free” movement
  • established markets are growing slowly
  • firms like Google, Amazon, and Apple showing little curiosity about (and some contempt for) the practices of investing in content
  • some people do not view copyright as benignly as most publishers would like them to”

However, he seems to be saying all of this is overblown and that we’re not on the “Eve of Destruction” pointing out that:

“perhaps we may find some solace in the bare facts of the case. The demands for information and analysis have never been greater. The consumption of text (increasingly on screens) has never been greater. The globalizing economy opens up new markets, especially for English-language publishers. The explosion in the amount of information and media types puts greater emphasis on reliable guideposts…”

Obviously, Joe has his opinion but ATG wants to know where you fall on the “gloom and doom” continuum?  Are publishers and the publishing industry toast?  Or is there hope for the future? And if Joe is right about “solace” he finds in the “bare facts of the case,” how can/are publishers taking advantage of them?  And what is the library’s role in this  scenario?

Kick back!  Take a little time to ponder it.  Then let us know what  you think.

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