Random House Bets on the Future of the Book
In a recent interview with Der Spiegel, Random House CEO Markus Dohle explained his company’s outlook on the future, why he’s in no rush to bargain with Apple, and what publishers must do to avoid the fate of the music industry. Throughout, Dohle expresses confidence that Random House, along with its best-selling authors, will continue to set the industry standard—as long as their predictions for the future come true, that is.
Dohle, it seems, was chosen not for his literary prowess, but for his business skills. He rose to prominence in Random’s parent company in Germany as a professional in printing and logistics. After beating back initial skepticism amongst the New York literati, he now oversees the company amidst the industry’s transition to electronic publishing.
As I said last week, Random is fighting to retain the electronic rights to works that were copyrighted before the advent of e-readers. Dohle says the retention of these rights is necessary, financially and conceptually, to the continued existence of the industry. He realizes that if the wrong moves are made, we may indeed bear witness to the end of publishing houses.
His confidence that this won’t happen any time soon is based on Random’s strong reputation, i.e. the selling power of its authors, and that the new revenue stream that e-books open will never completely replace paper book sales. Even as the electronic book market matures, which Dohle thinks will take only five to seven years, there will remain a market for paper books, and Random will take the lead in a dual track marketing approach.
According to the interview, Random’s books are not available at Apple’s iBookstore—no Dan Brown, for example—and that makes Dohle feel he can negotiate with Apple as an equal, rather than sacrifice profits for the sake of being available in Apple’s exclusive store. But he admits that keeping authors while electronic outlets pay much higher royalties will be tricky. For now, he asks that writers trust in Random’s track record when imagining the future.
Finally, Dohle says his industry will benefit from going electronic after the music industry because certain lessons have been learned. The primary one, he says, is to prevent pirating from entering the book industry in the first place.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
How you talk to people with drug addiction might save their life.
- Addiction is a learning disorder; it's not a sign that someone is a bad person.
- Tough love doesn't help drug-addicted people. Research shows that the best way to get people help is through compassion, empathy and support. Approach them as an equal human being deserving of respect.
- As a first step to recovery, Maia Szalavitz recommends the family or friends of people with addiction get them a complete psychiatric evaluation by somebody who is not affiliated with any treatment organization. Unfortunately, warns Szalavitz, some people will try to make a profit off of an addicted person without informing them of their full options.
These photos of scientific heroes and accomplishments inspire awe and curiosity.
- Science has given humanity an incalculable boost over the recent centuries, changing our lives in ways both awe-inspiring and humbling.
- Fortunately, photography, a scientific feat in and of itself, has recorded some of the most important events, people and discoveries in science, allowing us unprecedented insight and expanding our view of the world.
- Here are some of the most important scientific photos of history:
China's Chang'e 4 biosphere experiment marks a first for humankind.
- China's Chang'e 4 lunar lander touched down on the far side of the moon on January 3.
- In addition to a lunar rover, the lander carried a biosphere experiment that contains five sets of plants and some insects.
- The experiment is designed to test how astronauts might someday grow plants in space to sustain long-term settlements.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.