Today I learned that Random House and Penguin Group may merge. Soon the “big six” in the publishing world may only be those five book publishers that used to rule the industry before nook and Kindle. How long will it be until there is only one major traditional publishing company?
I have heard that the traditional publishing industry is becoming a thing of the past, but I didn’t want to believe it. E-books are becoming increasingly popular, despite my stubbornness. I bought a nook a few years ago, but after a few months I stopped using it. I couldn’t feel the pages underneath my fingertips. The pages didn’t look the same as a book page, despite the modern technology that went into making the screen look like paper. I couldn’t feel the weight of a thick book or see cracks develop in the spine.
I take pride in my bookshelves. Once a year I completely reorganize them to accommodate the books I have acquired that cannot possibly fit on my crammed shelves. For many, running out of room would make an electronic book tablet more desirable, but I love being able to look, touch, and smell all of my books.
When I officially ran out of space and had to move books into a closet, I was ecstatic. That sounds nerdy, but it’s true. One of the “selling points” for e-readers is that it is nearly impossible to run out of room. There is no fun in deciding which books to have on display because they can’t be displayed at all.
The Random House and Penguin merge may only be the first step to the end of traditional book publishing. I feel like this is much like when Borders announced that their problems were minor, and only a few low profit stores would be shut down. Now the Borders where I spent countless hours is an organic grocery store.
As a writer, I should be happy with this change. However, as a reader I am deeply saddened. I don’t want traditional publishing to die.