Agent Rachelle Gardner's Take on Publishing


Okay, so I don't talk about agents anymore, because I find them not necessary in today's publishing climate.

However, there are some agents out there who are trying to think things through, not just turning a blind eye to the ongoing transition to digital.

It looks as if Rachelle Gardner is one. She compares what's happening with the big publishers to what Kodak is going through right now (bankruptcy).

As Ms. Gardner notes, Kodak clung to the film business, though it was starting to come out with digital products, with those digital products supporting its film business. Because Kodak thought most of its customers still wanted the physical product (film).

Ah, oops.

This is akin to the big publishers (I really dislike using the term "Big 6" because there are more than 6 big publishing firms :-)) clinging to their print books, though they're coming out with digital products. And just like Kodak, the digital products are supporting the other products.

That was the main thought that struck me as I read the post. An interesting read. You might not agree with most of what she says, but that main thought has stayed with me, and made me want to write this post. Not because I think the biggies are on the ropes like Kodak is or that they're even headed that way.

But I think it's instructional, in that when a company decides on something and doesn't look to make changes, they get into trouble. Think of Madonna. The Material Girl went through a number of transformations to keep her career going far longer than some people thought was possible (and I'm not just talking about her hair color, either). As tastes in music changed, as she noticed certain trends, she pounced on those changes, on those trends, and has managed to stay relevant (read: $$$$) for a long time.

There will be some casualties among the publishers, for sure. The big publishers, though, will be with us for a while, me thinks.