Jason Epstein on the Revolutionary Future of Publishing

Jason Epstein

The transition within the book publishing industry from physical inventory stored in a warehouse and trucked to retailers to digital files stored in cyberspace and delivered almost anywhere on earth as quickly and cheaply as e-mail is now underway and irreversible. This historic shift will radically transform worldwide book publishing, the cultures it affects and on which it depends. Read more >

2 responses to “Jason Epstein on the Revolutionary Future of Publishing

  1. Very interesting article. Digitization throws the whole publishing world wide open.

    Although he states that “Some musicians make up for lost royalties by giving concerts, selling T-shirts, or accompanying commercials. For authors there is no equivalent solution”, there are many similar opportunities for authors in the areas of article writing, blogging and use of digital media for distribution of spoken word items. And who knows what the future will bring?

    The division of time for a writer, i.e. private vs. public time, is much more problematic. Social media can offer great opportunities for promotion and publicity through networking, but can be very intrusive when a writer needs to focus his/her inner life.

  2. I agree with most of Epstein’s overall perspective on the vast changes that are and will take place both in publishing and our culture. We can only speculate on many of them at this early stage. His limitations are those of a traditional publisher, yet he’s one who has been central to developing the Espresso Book Machine which promises to go far beyond traditional publishing.

    I think it’s fair to say Epstein has his finger on the pulse of the Post-Gutenberg revolution more than most publishers, though I think he’s vastly undervaluing ebooks, though it’s understandable, since he’s placed all his chips on the Espresso Book Machine. I should disclose I’m slightly biased in his favor since I have three books available through the Espresso Book Machine.

    I believe eBooks will definitely take over much of the market-share of traditional publishing, POD, and the Espresso Book Machine. eBooks solve all the printing and distribution problems of publishing. Most importantly, eBooks solve all the problems confronting the writer and the reader. I’m not interested in solving problems for the mega-corporate publishers; they are the problem. The sooner writers and readers can largely get rid of them, and their interference in who and what can potentially receive a hearing from readers, the better. For many, the Digital Age makes that possible.

    I printed Epstein’s article to PDF and read it on my Sony Reader…

    I think Zhana’s worry about social networking can be true, if a writer doesn’t carefully control his or her use of it. I’m on Facebook and have found the best way to use it is in those moments between working on one thing and turning to another–brief check-ins, and then back to the task at hand, or at night, while watching the evening news or whatever.

    Publishing in the Post-Gutenberg Age

    Frederick Glaysher

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