Monday, December 20, 2004

Book Publishers Contemplate Going Direct, Following Journals' Footsteps

The New York Times notes notes the pending plans of Random House to start selling its wares direct to consumers via its own Web site, hoping to improve on its margins as book store sales continue to wallow in the doldrums. Given the advanced state of online content shopping offered by sites such as Amazon this may seem to be a rather chimeric effort by the major publishing house, but looking at the efforts of today's journals to find their place in the online world without the help of traditional aggregators perhaps it's not no unwise. With the movement of content towards an increasingly uniform and universal search infrastructure and tools such as weblogs making aggregation much more of a personal matter, perhaps Random House is getting more in line with today's content ecommerce trends, wittingly or unwittingly. Web publishing has allowed more high-value personal relationships with authors and publishers in many venues, including but hardly limited to Weblogs. If Random House sets up shop with just another storefront, it's likely what we can say "so what?" to some degree. But if they use this new venue to prepare for the future of highly personalized publishing, then they may just be on to the core of tomorrow's book publishing essentials.
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