Saturday, December 13, 2014

An Economic Model

Can one predict how the changing publishing environment will shakeout?

With changing technology comes changing art.

One model to look at is what happened to the music industry in the mid-1950’s. (I’ve told this story often.)

A technological happening:

A smaller disc was brought to the market: the 45 rpm. Looked fun. Played music of short duration. Was affordable for everyone. Including the mass public. Including teenagers.

Simultaneous with this, likely because of it, came the rise of more populist music. “Rock n’ roll,” as it came to be known.

The Big Four record companies who controlled 85% of the market scorned the new music. It went against acceptable “taste.” They ended up losing nearly half their market share in a couple-year period. Who took it? Fast-moving entrepreneurs like Alan Freed and Dick Clark. A few years later, in Detroit, Berry Gordy Jr., who created Motown.


What’s happening in the book business? New technology. Connect the dots. Draw the inescapable conclusions.

What’s coming? New literature pushed by outfits like

These are exciting times.

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