Sponsored Anxiety

[intro]I am married to a hard-working publisher. After several years together, our mutual addiction to what is going on in our respective work places is out in the open.[/intro] When we go on holiday these days, we no longer hide in the bathroom to surreptitiously check the blackberry. Rather, we accept that an inability to switch-off comes with the territory, whether you are working for a big corporate or running a nascent start-up. Everyone has to be on top of everything, all the time.

So I am peculiarly aware of our respective information filters telling us both slightly contrary things. Or at least emphasising different aspects of the same wonderfully disparate world.

It is August, so the data I’m hearing is focussed a lot on UK subscriptions and orders for key autumn titles. Some of them are eye-wateringly large.

Proof positive if it were needed that the physical book is far from dead, however challenged the High Street. And yet I am also being bombarded by information on seminars and courses I should be attending in London, New York and Frankfurt. Seminars and talks that I know will engage the most senior brains in global publishing that skew almost entirely towards digital.

I know it is the sign of a healthy industry that it can embrace change and not be afraid to tackle head on the challenges of disruption and disintermediation. But sometimes it feels as if publishers can’t get by without feeling the need to sponsor organisations and individuals whose sole aim is to keep their levels of anxiety as high as possible.

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