The Independent reports that a rise in the popularity of e-books and e-readers is contributing to more small publishers going out of business. According to accountancy firm Moore Stephens, 128 UK publishers went out of business in the year that ended June 30, up from 81 for the same period a year before. Moore Stephens said that firms that were slow to release their titles as e-books saw their sales fall.

I find this news frankly puzzling. Really, I don’t understand. After all, according to the big five publishers, e-book sales are falling off, and this is a cause for celebration. How can e-book popularity be growing and killing off small publishers at the exact same time? Surely someone must be mistaken, and it can’t be the immense publishing monoliths who got where they are today by backing paper books, to the point where they had to break the law to force Amazon to raise e-book prices.

Can it?

David Elliott, restructuring and insolvency partner at Moore Stephens, said: “The fall in the value of sales for physical books is larger than the growth of e-books, and this is a worrying trend for publishers that are still dependent on paper for their profits.”

I just don’t understand. How could the big publishers be wrong about something like that? After all, their entire way of doing business depends on their being right. Who knows?

(Do I need to note all the sarcasm inherent in the above, since I didn’t use any smileys? Probably better, just to be safe.)


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