In Web mag 3:AM Roland Kelts tells about how the recording industry is trying to cope with the downloadable, digital sea change. Kelts, author of Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture has Invaded the US, suggests the US publishing industry might be in worst shape than the music biz. US book publishers, he suggests, are in denial. He cites as contrast the Japanese embrace of “cell phone novels.”
“when I raised the topic of cell phone novel downloads as a promising new format for writers like me and publishers like mine in the U.S., a prominent and progressive editor from one of New York’s major international houses shook his head. “They’d just outsource the work [of producing the downloads] to someone in Chennai [India],” he said, referring to his superiors. “And it would just be a mess.”
“When the concept of the electronic book (E-book) surfaces at the American Book Association conventions, or other major book fairs, Western publishers begin their moaning and dread. But in Japan, the success of downloadable cell phone novels is being celebrated by young editors, who are pursuing the format avidly.”
If it’s any consolation to our bibliopeers, the magazine industry has a louder chorus of digital deniers. The most forward of these talk about cross-platforms —marketing and content programs that encompass Web and print and mobile and whatever other media platform buzzword is floating around. Fine!
But this neatly ignores the evidence that the foundations of print magazine publishing —readership, advertising, circulation —are collapsing.