Nobody is sure where the publishing industry is headed, but former Soft Skull Press publisher Richard Nash has some dark (yet strangely hopeful) ideas. He sees a future where bookstores die, publishers go Hollywood, and book-writing explodes.
Nash spent almost a decade running indie Soft Skull Press, which published some of the smartest, angriest, and weirdest novels around - including work by Nick Mamatas, Dennis Cooper, Lydia Millet, io9's own Charlie Jane Anders, and a lot of mind-blowing science fiction. Now Nash is working on publishing projects that he believes will survive into 2020.
Writes Nash, over at GalleyCat:
Most predictions for 2020 based on models derived from controlling the supply side, that is, from the monopoly on the means of producing and distributing books, will be wrong. By which I mean, the supply chain book publishing and retail model is ending. The book retail chains will disappear, just like Circuit City, Sharper Image, Tower Records disappeared. And the corporate publishers will likely all but disappear just as Atari, Digital, Wang disappeared though the backlists will be spun off to private equity companies looking for semi-predictable IP-based cash flow, and a couple of front list publishing enterprises will likely be operating trying to emulate the Hollywood blockbuster model with just about enough success to be able to stay in business.
But Nash remains hopeful about writing, and especially novel writing. He thinks "long-form text-only narrative will continue to thrive as it has since cavemen gathered around the fire," and that "in 2020 the disaffected twentysomethings of the burgeoning middle classes of India, China, Brazil, Indonesia will be producing novels faster than any of us can possibly imagine."
Image via Deadmalls.com.