The next 5 years of publishing: on connecting audiences to stories [OPINION]

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In the run up to tonight’s event, Publishing: the next 5 years, BookMachine has been featuring a number of opinions about what might be next for the industry. This is a guest blog from Nicola Borasinski. Nicky is the Digital Development Assistant at Penguin Random House. She is a former MA student at Queen Mary University of London. During her MA she focused her research on the relationship children have with print and digital media and is currently working on digital products for amazing brands like Peppa Pig and Roald Dahl. 

I always find it quite bizarre when people talk about the future of the book and the future of the publishing industry. There is generally a lot of scaremongering and apocalyptic rhetoric that hounds these conversations and people always seem to reach doomed conclusions: publishing is set to fail.

Amongst this chatter it can be easy to forget that print is one of, if not, the oldest technologies we have in the world today. So what do I think will happen to the publishing industry in the next 5 years?

In short: we will still be here! People’s attitudes to reading don’t seem to be changing and books continue to become bestsellers, To Kill A Mockingbird and Girl On The Train to name a few. What is changing is where people are now spending their downtime. Print has been very fortunate that it has had very few competitors, but in a digital age we see that this has now expanded rapidly. Audiences are on numerous channels and even numerous screens at once.

In general I think the publishing industry is making great strides towards embracing technology and using this to explore stories. In my current role at Penguin Random House, I was lucky enough to work on the first ever Roald Dahl app TWIT OR MISS. The app has been immensely popular and was a great way to bring such a fantastic author into the digital space. This shows that publishing isn’t scared to try new things and experiment.

If publishing can continue to connect its audiences with fantastic stories on the right platforms, then I’m certain the industry will be around for a long time.

– Join us tonight for ‘Publishing: the next 5 years’ in London [sold out], Oxford, Cambridge UK, or NYC.

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