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Conflicting Reports About Publishing Industry Woes

Galleycat reports  a Gloomy Publishing Industry Survey. Excerpt:

Publishers Weekly‘s annual survey of publishing employees painted a grim picture of the book industry this week, reporting that a staggering 70 percent of the more than 1,400 respondents saw hiring freezes at their companies.

PW also found that eleven percent of polled employees felt “very insecure” about the state of their jobs–an all-time high for the survey…

This is not the first such report about the recession’s impact on the publishing industry. But contrast the PW survey with this update from agent Wendy Lawton who was blogging from ICRS trade show in Denver:

Picture a convention center filled with books, authors, editors, book buyers, marketing excitement, talk and ideas. it always reminds me just how much I love my job as a literary agent. Yes, we’ve got back-to-back appointments that go from early morning to late night but the energy and enthusiasm keeps us all going. It’s hard to believe that we’re in the midst of an economic downturn when you start talking books. Editors still love to find wonderful new projects, and publishers always know that each book stands a chance of being that next miracle.

So what gives? Between the “grim picture of the book industry” as painted by PW and the trade show “energy and enthusiasm” described by Wendy, I’m not sure what to think.  Is this all a matter of perspective, isolated to individuals’ social / business pockets? Or has the Christian publishing industry somehow transcended the malaise?

Or maybe we’re just stressing to get our minds around exactly what is going on? I mean, every time Lisa and I go to Victoria Gardens, it’s packed. Restraunts are full, cafes are buzzing, sidewalks are jammed with punks, hipsters, and poodle-walking yuppies. And I always say the same thing: So where’s the “economic downturn” everyone keeps talking about? Please understand, I’m not intending to downplay a dire forecast or dismiss the real job losses that are occuring. I’m just asking, What’s up?

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{ 1 comment… add one }
  • R. L. Miller July 14, 2009, 5:51 PM

    Mike, I just read another report from someone on the Writer's View that painted a more optimistic picture than pessimistic. The idea was, as I recall, that publishers are readjusting their expectations. Break-even is now successful. And there the areas that continue to show strongly? YA and fantasy. Hmmmm.


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