Gigaom

I recently attended Le Web in Paris, where the theme of the conference was innovation in the next decade. It got me to thinking about where we go with publishing. Even on Google, you won’t be able to find an article on publishing trends from the 1440s, the decade after Johannes Gutenberg introduced movable type printing to Europe. But if you did, it would probably focus more on the gloomy outlook for the illuminated manuscript industry than on the then-unfolding print revolution, which launched cascading innovations that would change everything and usher in the Age of Enlightenment.

Something similar is at work today: Digital publishing is now a mature, thriving industry, and yet many still insist that publishing is in its death throes. Book publishers know better: While hardcover sales declined slightly between 2008 and 2012 (from $5.2 billion to $5 billion), eBook sales grew at an astonishing clip…

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