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« The myth of plateauing ebook sales | Main | Never tell people what your book is about »

June 03, 2013


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Lynn Vannucci

As CEO of one of those start-ups you're talking about, just wanted to take the opportunity to give thanks for the encouragement. It isn't always easy, being disruptive. Thanks.


Could not agree more. I was at the show in 1988 and then left for the technology and photo industries and now coming back it looks pretty much like the 1988 printed book show but with a lot fewer exhibitors and booksellers and very little excitement. Many of the same people are still there.

At the end of the old 35mm film and photo industry, the PMA Annual Show at least integrated the new with the old. And in the world of paper atlases and digital mapping/GPS, the two were integrated into industry shows like the ESRI annual event and others.

My sense as an outsider who has travelled different roads, is the West Coast innovators simply do not want or need to be treated like second-class citizens who are disrupting another industry so don't bother coming. (They see themselves as making amazing new things possible and consumers agree.) Their brands are not allowed to be tucked away in small booths off in a corner and anyone who has seen them at CES and other tech shows understands this.

I felt like Rip van Winkle walking through the BEA Show. When the feel-good Show headline news is "happy to have stabilized" you know things are not where they need to be. I saw this with paper atlases when they halved in sales worldwide due to GPS between 2005 and 2009. I also find it amusing that the digital innovator conferences are downstairs -- as in Downton Abbey! You just would never see that at CES or any significant industry event outside this one.

Publishers and booksellers need not hide in fear of the tech future but figure out how to participate in it. Ebooks make reading more exciting again for a lot of people. Fuji figured this out in the photo biz years ago and thrived; Kodak and Polaroid did not. It can be done but hiding in denial is not the way.

Just one man's observations from another planet.


Christensen's other memorable attribute, which you may know, is that his son played basketball at Duke! He sometimes comes to Harvard games where he is quite anonymous, except for his size.

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