Recession Shreds Publishing Industry; Is Literature Next?

Until outfits learn to cope with digital challenges, it'll be a tough go for writers
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2008 4:04 PM CST
An team member scans book titles at their Fernley, Nev., warehouse.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The publishing industry has been battered in the past month, as large houses hemorrhage editors and consolidate divisions, leading some to wonder if literary publishing will ever be the same, Jason Boog writes on Salon. The list of ills is long: too-high advances paid to a dwindling number of sure bets; corporate ownership hit hard by the economic crisis; a steep drop in sales.

The answer, Boog writes, may be small houses with enlightened business models and the nascent electronic book industry. According to one publisher, the recession “will open up opportunities for the smaller, more stable presses.” And much depends on what the laid-off workers do with themselves. Perhaps, Boog writes, they can “channel all of this collective anger, bewilderment and fear into industry-altering strategies.”