Ed Nawotka, editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives. He founded Publishing Perspectives in the Spring of 2009 with two colleagues from the German Book Office, which is affiliated with the Frankfurt Book Fair. For the past dozen years he has been involved in book publishing. Prior to PP, he was a book columnist for Bloomberg News and the daily news editor at Publishers Weekly, responsible for putting out PW Daily along with John Mutter, who went on to start Shelf Awareness. He started in the book business in college, working at Doubleday Book Shops in Boston (they were subsumed by Barnes & Noble around 1990. He went overseas for graduate school and spent several years working in Europe, Asia and Africa as a business reporter.
1. Who should be reading Publishing Perspectives and why? Writers, editors, agents -- anyone interested in the book business, and today, that is a lot of people. Publishing Perspectives focuses on the developments in the international book business. We try to take a global perspective, which has led people to refer to us as the "BBC of the Book World." We have correspondents in most major markets and some of the most original and interesting publishing reporting from across the globe. The world is flat, as they say, so US writers and publishers should be aware of trends overseas. You know the old cliche "Big in Japan" -- well, that is turning into "Big in China," "Big in Brazil," "Big in India." There's a lot of opportunity for Americans who know how to work with these markets. We're rolling out a series of market-specific publications in the next year to help people learn more. The first of these is PublishNews Brazil, which focuses on the Brazilian book market and which we've been publishing since the spring. I encourage everyone to take a look at both, you'll be delighted by what you find. And look in the archives -- we have more than 1,300 feature articles on all aspects of publishing.
2. Where do you see book publishing heading as an industry? It is becoming far more democratic and inclusive than it was in the past, which I see as a good trend. There was a time when publishers saw the digital revolution as a sinkhole, but now it’s viewed as a portal. People are emerging from that portal and finding a new world, one populated with far more books and, as a consequence, far more readers. In the near term, publishers are going to need to remind authors what value they add to the publishing experience: professional editing, marketing, and sales, all of which are key to a book's success.
5. What impact is technology having on book publishing now? The greatest impact technology has had on publishing is that it has democratized distribution. You can now publish a book instantaneously online, send it around the world, price it the way you want and market it. For a long time traditional publishers had a monopoly on distribution, but that is gone. Technology is also making it easier for people around the world to sample and experience other people's cultures in a way never done before. That is tremendously exciting and something we cater to at Publishing Perspectives.
6. Do you think we’ll see a consolidation of major book publishers? It's impossible to say. Those are enormous, publicly owned corporations, so consolidation is up to the boards of those companies. If that happens it will be based entirely on financial conditions -- and if I was any good at predicting those, I would have gone with my college roommate to work at Goldman Sachs. I do think you'll see the Big Six streamline their lists, but I'm not convinced that that -- in the near term at least -- will be any less influential. I don't like the combative attitude that positions Indies as being against the Big Six who are fighting off self-publishers -- that's silly and destructive. It's all complementary and part of the publishing ecosystem.