I would like to ask you to accept my sincerest apology for not showing up in May as I promised. As some of you may know, I have been extremely busy with my graduation, and some research opportunities came up afterwards which have kept me occupied and will do so for quite some time into the future.
I am also happy to tell you that I have been admitted into the Master of Philosophy in General Linguistics & Comparative Philology programme at the University of Oxford. It has been my dream to become a linguist, and after careful consideration I have decided that I will be embarking on this new endeavour with much anticipation (but also anxiety) this September.
Sadly, this also means that I would not be able to update this website, at least for quite a while. This is not a permanent goodbye – my aspiration to become an academic publisher is still alive, but I hope you could understand that with the current (and future) workload of my study and research, it would be rather difficult for me to maintain this website while keeping up its quality. I did consider cutting down on the frequency of posting or looking for a writing partner, but the quality of content has always been my No.1 priority and I would not like to risk it.
Publishing Insights has been one of the most amazing experience of my life. It started out as a “personal” project, but quite unexpectedly I found myself in a global community of readers/writers/publishers, an active network that brought us together to have a heated debate and then become friends (not in the sense of “followers”). I could not be more grateful for having the chance to know many bloggers on WordPress and beyond, many of whom have contributed to very sophisticated discussion on my posts and have kept their dreams and goals alive in spite of the frequent (and cruel) struggle of balancing between business and art. You are the reason why Publishing Insights has been a rewarding experience for me.
Thank you, my dear readers, and I wish you every success in your own endeavours in the publishing world.
Rosie Maynard, a Publishing student at Bath Spa University, explores the future of audiobook publishing in a module Digital Publishing. She examines the unpopularity of audiobooks among publishers (in comparison with ebooks), and claims that it may be attributed to “a lack of adequate financial return”. However, Maynard points out that audiobooks are not yet doomed because they are easy to incorporate into people’s busy lifestyles, and publishers who identify audiobooks’ potential have been attempting to overcome many hurdles. She evaluates the current situation of a few major audiobook publishers, and brings our attention to the importance or good narrators, who can “breathe life into stories”.
Additionally, sheds light on Global Audiobook Trends for 2015. He also introduces some interesting facts and figures about the current audiobook industry, with a focus on the industry leader Audible, and shares his views on how audiobooks works differently than e-books on a business level.
The audiobook market is still booming, although it is yet to arise as a popular form of “reading” when the whole world is eager to witness the competition between print books and ebooks. But there’s one thing that we can be sure about: the development of audiobook industry is transforming itself, and it may even transform our definition of publishing and reading once again.
Image Credit: Good E-Reader
Jonathan Mahler tells an interesting story about the open plan or cubicle office in the world’s publishing houses. The article Cubicles Rise in a Brave New World of Publishing on New York Times predicts that the open plan office “may be the future of publishing”, although this change might take a while for editors to get used to.
My personal experiences working at a Hong Kong local publishing house and work-shadowing at the Asian headquarter of Oxford University Press seem to speak against this point of view, but to be honest, I will need more industrial experience to find out the answer. What I would like to point out is that the workplace culture varies greatly across different publishing houses, and it is even true for transnational publishing houses whose publishers might need to travel across several cultures. It will not be surprising to find out that the collectivism-oriented eastern countries may prefer the open plan, which encourages close collaboration among colleagues, while western publishers and editors may be more delighted to retain their privacy by working in a cubicle office.
Image Credit: Sasha Maslov for The New York Times
Mike Doherty writes about Andrew Wylie in an article What is the future of book publishing? ‘Chances are things are going to work out,’ super-agent says for Postmedia News, accessible on Vancouver Sun. Wylie expresses optimism toward printed publishing in spite of the wave of digitalisation in publishing industry worldwide, saying that the world will “return to good old-fashioned books” because “the printed word lasts and lasts and lasts.”
What is so special about printed publications that makes Wylie claim it will come back into fashion? For me, printed books do have their distinctive attraction for being physical, lasting, and symbolically valuable as gifts. However, it remains uncertain whether our next generation’s reading habits will be completely overhauled by the popularisation of portable devices, leading to an irreversible overturn of publishing conventions.
Image Credit: Matthew Sherwood for National Post