I'm just back from the Frankfurt Book Fair. It was fun, not as busy as the past few years (especially Saturday - very few people in the aisles of Hall 8 and just a few meetings). But one thought I had was this - the stands were full of new books, every subject, shape and author under the sun. I could have browsed for ages and there were a lot of books I would have liked to buy at the end of the Fair if I had space to pack them.
So, the current Kindle vs book discussion - can you imagine an international rights fair where all the books are on Kindle screens - a kind of book electronica. The book fair would be a little like a grey TV shop. Back to black and white on screens.
Just an idea - and I think it proves the book is here to stay. The publishing industry will be further split into massive firms and smaller ones supported by government initiatives or private patronage. This is a shame, and it is why Marion Boyars is finding itself divided in two - one part up for sale, the name and the history, with a large culturally divergent backlist, and the main fiction titles finding new homes at Penguin Modern Classics. It's not really a sad scenario as I know it is the right thing for 2010 and onwards. We had a great boom over the past ten years in retail and in education, but we are now in more digitally challenged times, so change is a coming in.