What publishers mean when they talk about publishing

So, news of the changing of the guard at the top of UK publishing houses now comes to us via a daily press release. Leaving aside the personalities involved (difficult, but I’ll try), what is interesting is that at HarperCollins UK you now have someone at the helm who will see the product of their acquisitions purely as the dreaded C-word (content) rather than literature. Which will probably upset a lot of the trade commissioning editors, most of whom see themselves as magnets for exploitable front-list fiction and non-fiction rights. But it might mean a legacy publisher finally realising that the battleground is not the front table at Waterstones, but online, and that the main competitors are ScribdQuartz or the forthcoming Medium.

Like sand between your toes, creators and broadcasters of content are everywhere. I suspect the next generation of CEOs, the 30-something data geeks and MBA grad analysts, will really get it. I just hope it isn’t all too late.

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