“Describing yesterdays as if they were tomorrows”… That’s how author Hugh Howey recently characterized publishing predictions. There’s more than a grain of truth in his assessment.
Most efforts to forecast the future of publishing start with an assumption that the prevailing supply chain will somehow adjust. Time-honored roles like development and curation are said to prevail, and by extension the next moments will look like the past, just that much more digital.
Some less sanguine assessments predict the demise of reading as we know it. In this argument, gatekeeping – whether through editors, imprints or booksellers – is a service to readers, one that readers will sorely miss when the new order emerges.
Neither of these two endpoints makes sense.