Sunday, March 4, 2012

Doug Gibson & e-books

Yesterday evening, I had the pleasure of attending a presentation by Douglas Gibson, who has been the editor and/or publisher for a many famous Canadian authors, most recently at the head of McLelland & Stewart.  He was presenting his new book, Stories about Storytellers, and it was entertaining, indeed. At the end, there was a Q&A, and someone else beat me to the question of the future of  the publishing industry with the advent of e-books. However, I did tape his response on my flipcam.


  1. Barb great job capturing Gibson's response. Interesting because in the last 10 years when I have asked others this question (or heard others asking it) - it has been the same response: I don't know!

    I find this a timely notion, that 50% of publishers will cease to exist, when considering the very recent news that Amazon has withdrawn about 4000 e-books due to a publishing row over retail terms.

    " is putting pressure on publishers and distributors to change their terms for electronic and print books to be more favourable toward Amazon. Our electronic book agreement recently came up for renewal, and Amazon took the opportunity to propose new terms for electronic and print purchases that would have substantially changed your revenue from the sale of both."

    Read the article over at the Guardian

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Barb.

    Although none of us know what the future of publishing will be, we can at least take solace in knowing that everyone else is wondering as well.

    Clay Shirky discussed the future of publishing in Here Comes Everybody. He says, "the individual weblogs are not merely alternate sites of publishing; they are alternatives to publishing itself, in the sense of publishers as a minority and professional class. In the same way you do not have to be a professional driver to drive, you no longer have to be a professional publisher to publish" (p.66).

    CBC's Spark Baratunde Thurston, a comedian, author and politics editor for The Onion, wrote his first book, How to be Black, and created his own version of publishing and distribution. He was on CBC’s Spark episode 166
    where he describes the social media street team he developed to promote, distribute and his book. At 6:47 minutes in, Thurston discusses his way of marketing the book and avoiding the traditional publishing process.

    By the way, this Spark episode is full of juicy content for this class. It includes pieces on the viability of niche subscriptions, library hacking and transmedia living. Enjoy!


    Shirky, C. (2008). Here comes everybody: The power of organizing without organizations. New York: Penguin Press.

    Thurston, B. (Interviewee). (2011). Book release as political campaign. (Radio podcast, Spark 166). Toronto, Canada: CBC Radio.