The Paperback is Dead - Long Live The Paperback

The Paperback is Dead - Long Live The Paperback

Textr Beagle enters the ebook reader market with an £8 device, Kindle has a gorgeous new version, Nook comes to the UK. Is that the last death throes of the paperback we hear? Nah.

For the last couple of years we've been 'on the brink' of the death of the paperback and the hardback has long been worm food according to many. But I beg to differ. I grant you it is a brave [subsitute stupid here if you wish] publisher that has a strategy leading with paper, but to say it's dead is rather naive. Instead of focussing on the ebook sales as x% I haves started to flip it the other way and say - "actually, over 50% of our sales are still paperbacks". Sounds better that way. ebooks are now a standard part of our lives and will get more so - but there is life in the old paperback dog yet.

Take licensing. We are very UK/USA focussed normally and tend to forget that emerging markets are still heavily paper orientated. We've done three deals with a Russian publisher recently - and due to the lack of ebooks, and most forms of eCommerce too, the traditional routes endure. Nice long paperback and hardback runs. Yep, they are way more picky than our European counterparts who have taken a dozen or so of our 60 Sherlock Holmes titles - whereas these guys have taken the top 3 so far [i.e. old school rules of taking the top sellers to make sure the long runs pay back] and old school marketing still works in those markets.

Ironically some of the emerging markets as a result have a higher quality of book on average - the flood of amateur ebooks in the West still scares the **** out most of us in the industry, and so it should. The more tat out there the harder it becomes. I know the hackles will go up that quality will rise to the top but have you done a search on B&N recently? 30m+ results......

ebooks are 'business as usual' for us now for some time but whereas a year ago I was preparing my black tie and suit for the passing of the paperback, my positiion has changed. It has at least 5 more years left in it......