Don Your 3D Glasses, Everyone, We’re Going Digital

December 16th, 2005 · No Comments
by DavidThayer

Only one thing happened to the publishing business in 2005. Google went public. Lots of pin action in the stock. All the broker dealers will have big bonuses in their Christmas stocking. Sure, two Googlebots left the farm and moved to Elko Nevada, a scandal that hasn’t garnered enough attention. But in terms of market capitalization Google’s equity value surpasses Disney, Time-Warner, and Microsoft. They have six billion in checking and savings. That’s toaster oven territory.

What does it mean? If you’re like me, you’re obsolete. If you’re not like me, there’s hope of course. Bertelsman Group will go public next year. BG owns Random House, but the tail that wags the dog is Group Lambert based in sunny Brussels. They control a chunk of Bertelsman and want to unleash shareholder value. There will be a huge public offering, followed by the inevitable series of beheadings, SEC scrutiny, and down the road a visit from a Corporate Raider who will claim that book publishing is a low growth, no win, nonsensical and unpredictable business. To which I say, what’s your point?

Google will save us. They will cross genre boundaries, a rising tide lifting all boats. Don your 3D glasses. We’ll be reading books at the newly converted Drive-Ins. Big screen, popcorn, plenty of free parking. If we’re lucky, there’ll be midnight screenings of The Blob.

File Under: The Future of Publishing