Publishing and the recession

Publishing and the recession

In recent times I’m sure you’ve noticed far more red discount stickers posted out around bookstores. Maybe you’ve seen the number of publishing jobs being advertised have drop off significantly (not to mention the wages). Perhaps your own workplace has laid of employees to reduce costs.

There’s been an adage in the industry that publishing is recession proof. Then why are there telltale signs that the industry, with an exception of on-demand, is suffering?

This question needs careful consideration before jumping to conclusions… and now may be just be the opportune time to brush up on your publishing skills, take some time to do some writing or explore some innovation within the publishing industry.

For years, publishers have argued that “because books are inexpensive, provide lasting pleasure and are sought by a relatively affluent clientele, their appeal persists even in hard times.” Yet anecdotal evidence can be scary.

However, an article by Telegraph.co.uk points out that there are specific areas falling in sales that are largely the cause of the overall publishing dip. These are largely tabloid-style celebrity books or ‘trade non-fiction,’ about food and drink, health, mind, body and spirit issues et cetera. Furthermore, they show that GPS systems have been the cause of a blow to maps and atlases and computer books are becoming obsolete as most people are opting to do a quick search online.

A lot of this is just showing a temporary shift and a natural progression. As journalist Helen Brown states “most publishers agree we’re likely to turn away from the grimmer stuff. Misery memoirs will take a nosedive, as will “suicidally bleak” literary fiction.”

Furthermore, Jamie Byng of Canongate, feels that the financial restrictions mean that there will be “fewer but better books: publishers will sharpen their focus.”

What does this mean?

Be innovative. Be creative. Refine your skills. Make good use of your time.

According to many critiques of the recession: it hits less-educated workers much harder.

Adam Hale, chairman of the technology leadership group at the Prince’s Trust, says job-seekers must be distinctive and proactive and must communicate well. “Having done things that are a little bit different, having made maximum use of your time are all important – do lots of things that make you distinctive,” he says.

Author Jim C. Hines wrote on his blog: “In the face of all this, here’s what I intend to do: (1) Keep writing. (2) Keep submitting. Because everything else is out of my hands…I didn’t start writing fiction in order to gain a stable, secure income stream. Don’t get me wrong, I love the income, but that wasn’t the purpose. I started because I love it, and I’m not about to stop writing because we’ve hit a rough patch.”

As Rick Haglund of the Detroit Bureau wonderfully puts it: “Recessions end. I’ve lived through five of them in my career.”

Now is a great time to move around, explore, retrain and spread your wings.

If you’ve got the drive, you’ll succeed. Just be patient and innovative.

Simply have a look at the booming online and on-demand industry: Number of On-demand Titles Topped Traditional Books in 2008.

Or maybe, just maybe, you could use this time to write your memoirs?

Entering the workforce

If you are of Generation Y (born 80s-early 90s) and just entering the workforce, this is actually a great time. Over the next 5-10 years most of the Baby Boomers will be retiring and there will be more jobs than people to fill them. I cannot stress enough how being qualified can slingshot you to the front of the crowd in the post-recession frenzy!

by Luke Freeman

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