BoSacks: The Profit Prophet: Paranoia in Publishing
This month I want to shine the light on an issue that I think warrants discussion by our industry. For lack of a better term, I have been calling it PIP—that is, paranoia in publishing. Here is the core of the issue: We believe that publishing will survive and be quite lucrative for many of the industry's smartest folks, but we can't quite figure out whether we will be part of that group—or part of that survival. And that is the terrible sadness of it.
We are in an extremely noble and wonderful business. As a group, we educate, entertain, inform and are one of the true bedrocks of civilization. It is very clear that what we do as an industry is vitally important and, in whatever form it finally manifests itself, will remain incredibly vibrant and necessary. And, after a short pause of serious introspection, we will be back on track to growth and grandeur. We as a group will definitely survive, but we as individuals haven't a clue whether that survival will include us.
As I travel the country going from various publishing houses, associations or business conferences, I sense the fear. Not a fear of life, but of livelihood. It is our livelihood and the very jobs that we have that create a sense of stability and, for lack of a better expression, continued self-worth. We can't help that kind of introspection; no one can.
At every conference I attend, there are sessions with titles like "The Future of Publishing" and "The Road Map to Publishing Success." Their purpose is fine in the broad sense of mapping where the industry needs to move and how we must reinvent ourselves in these trying times. But there is little help for the angst that we as individuals are feeling.