I read an interesting short article on a recent address by Random House chair and CEO Gail Rebuck on digitization and the future of books and ebooks. Rebuck's comments are relevant to the college store industry and re-emphasizes (in my opinion) the opportunities that stores and publishers have if we work together. That may require a little more open mindedness on both of our sides, but the opportunities are there.
A couple quotes from the article that I found particularly interesting:
- On the topic of online sales, Rebuck said that publishers' opportunities to sell direct to consumers via their own websites were intrinsically limited.
- "Consumers are not interested in publishing company brands; people buy books because of the author or topic, not because it is published by Random House, but because it is written by John Grisham or Jacqueline Wilson. Only aggregating sites such as Amazon or Waterstones.com can offer the range a serious book buyer is looking for."
These are interesting comments for us in the college store industry and offer some insight into the strategic direction we are headed in this space. More on that in the months to come...
The full text of Rebuck's talk is also available for reading. I think it is a well-crafted address, with a nice storyline and several interesting points. I found the discussion of the stages of digitization, along with her discussions of how technology is and will radically change publishing and bookselling, while still leaving some of the core elements particularly interesting. It is worth the read if you have the time.