TOC: Rushkoff says book publishers need to reduce in size

TOC: Rushkoff says book publishers need to reduce in size

<p>Author and new media guru Douglas Rushkoff has said that the publishing industry is no longer a growth business and needs to drastically reduce its scale in order to sustain itself in the future.</p><p>Speaking this morning (5th October) at the Tools of Change conference in Frankfurt, Rushkoff said the publishing business could not now grow fast enough to support the corporate structure of large media groups. He told delegates: &quot;What we are contending with is the fact that not as many of us are needed as used to be. Publishing can get on better if it only needs to support about 40% of the people it currently employs.&quot;<br /><br />But he said that the &quot;joy&quot; was that those left behind in the industry would &quot;really have to love books&quot;, adding that if you did not love books you could &quot;go into some other fun field and make a tonne of money. The rest of us just want to stay alive till the end, and enjoy books.&quot;<br /><br />Rushkoff said he had published his latest book, <em>Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age,</em> independently because he no longer needed a Random House, or an Ingram, or a Barnes &amp; Noble, to reach his customers. He said he was now able to offer his book direct at a lower price to customers. &quot;And I can publish it straightaway, and not wait two years for a publisher to publish it.&quot;</p><p>He also said he wanted an editor who would read his book, not pass it on to an assistant. &quot;Any editor who takes the time to read the manuscript rather than giving it to his assistant is the one that gets fired,&quot; he said, arguing that editors were pressed into acquiring more and more books to sustain the corporate debt structures of their media conglomerate parents.</p><p>Despite the gloomy message, Rushkoff said that this left us in a &quot;good place in the long run&quot;.</p><p>Earlier in the conference, TOC&#39;s Andrew Savikas revealed that e-books now outsell print books on O&#39;Reilly.com by 10 to 1, but that the growth in e-book sales has led to an uplift in print sales to their highest level for years.</p>