Frankfurt Book Fair 2013: What is a publisher now?

The publishing industry is in the midst of a rapid, tech-fueled period of change, but what does that change mean for the future of the business? A report by PW

At this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, an opening panel asked the question: What Is a Publisher Now?

“I think it is fair to say that about 5-10 years ago the publishing industry was well-defined: Retailers retailed, publishers published, distributors distributed, printers printed, and editors edited,” said moderator Karina Luke, executive director of the U.K.-based based Book Industry Communication (BIC), teeing up the question for the panel. “How does that compare to the publishers role and to the content industry of today?”

The conclusion of the panel meshed with remarks delivered at the CONTEC conference on Tuesday by Wiley president Stephen Smith, who stressed that publishers are no longer mere content providers, but service providers. Fulfilling that role will provide new challenges in terms of staffing, and resources, but it is a role publishers can, and must play, Lossius noted.

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