Publishers "more relevant than ever" says Mackenzie

Publishers "more relevant than ever" says Mackenzie

<p>Little, Brown c.e.o. Ursula Mackenzie has said publishers are &quot;more relevant than ever&quot; in the digital era, amid recent criticism of their relevance.</p><p>Mackenzie was writing on the Guardian&#39;s website in response to author Ray Connolly&#39;s <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/aug/12/publishing-book-online-ray-c... article</a> for the paper arguing against the need for publishing houses in the digital revolution.<br /><br />She said the services publishers provide are &quot;more useful than ever&quot; to authors and readers. She argued: &quot;The idea that publishers &#39;now appear frozen in the headlights of the onrushing digital revolution&#39; is simply untrue. Long before the digital revolution had become a reality for readers, most major publishing houses have been planning and investing in their digital divisions in addition to &#39;doing the day job&#39;, publishing and selling their authors in all formats and in all markets.&quot;<br /><br />She added: &quot;Digital publishing programmes are firmly embedded in all publishing businesses: these range from simultaneous e-book editions of new titles, republishing backlists digitally, revitalising old formats with new digital content, and creating title-specific apps on the latest devices. Publishers are absolutely aware that it is in their interests, and the interests of their authors, to embrace change in the industry.&quot;<br /><br />Mackenzie further enforced the role publishers play in discussing anti-piracy issues and said the digital sphere presents new problems. She added: &quot;Protecting copyright and ensuring authors are properly paid is a key function of every publisher: publishers have created and manage anti-piracy schemes and contractual rights for e-books, often taking legal action where an author&#39;s copyright is breached.&quot;<br /><br />She said while some authors may prefer to publish their own work, &quot;a good publisher knows their market whether they are publishing in print or digitally&quot;. Mackenzie added despite Amazon&#39;s growing digital sales the &quot;demand for print works remains very strong&quot; and as many authors want their work in print, publishers are &quot;a vital part of the process&quot;.<br /><br />Mackenzie disputed Connolly&#39;s claim that &quot;anyone who is computer savvy can become a publisher&quot;. She said: &quot;Many readers like knowing the book they are going to be spending their valuable time reading has been filtered through a selection process by people whose job is to guide the reader to what they want and ensure that they spend their time &ndash; and money &ndash; wisely.&quot;</p>