The publishing industry is currently embroiled in a state of flux never before seen. It’s a battle for the very life of the industry, with forces from both inside and outside jockeying for position. Technology has undermined many of the things that once made publishing the long-standing giant it was. More than that, the same technology is allowing more and more individuals and smaller entities to forego the traditional routes to publication entirely. It’s an all-out assault on what has been one of the most successful, profitable enterprises of the past century.
Author Dan Meadows has followed the past three years of this battle very closely, not with the eye of a pundit so much, but as a member of the industry just looking for some path to find a viable future for himself. After 15 years working within publishing, he found himself suddenly on the outside looking in, with no clear path back. With disruption everywhere, and experts on all sides of the fight speaking in sweeping proclamations, it’s sometimes difficult to tell who’s right and who’s wrong, or which way the future leads.
Over two-and-a-half years, Meadows followed and wrote about the changes sweeping through the industry on his website, The Watershed Chronicle. This book is a timeline of that writing, and a description of his journey through exploring traditional work after the disruption, trying out new online alternatives and finally settling on what he believes is the best course.
The publishing industry has changed in the past five years in more ways than it had in the previous century, and it’s not over yet. This book chronicles one of the most tumultuous periods in the industry’s history from the eyes of someone in the middle of it, one that has seen massive revenue losses, layoffs and a dynamic shift in the attitudes and reading habits of the public. It is a period that may well be looked back on as the beginning of the end of the traditional ways of doing business.