Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Gladys gazes into the crystal ball

Given the surprises we’ve had this year: Pearson buying Harcourt, Collins Booksellers acquiring Book City, Borders putting all its international stores up for sale, Angus & Robertson’s now-celebrated ‘pay up or its goodbye’ letter to its suppliers, it would be a brave person to make some predictions for the trade for 2008. Michael Cairns, US-based former president of R R Bowker and now an industry consultant, has posted a few predictions to his PersonaNonData blog, including ‘there will be some additional consolidation in trade and this could result in a higher profile for Hachette, Bloomsbury and/or Macmillan.’ If I could hazard a few predictions of my own, they would be:

• Melbourne’s Discovery Media is purchased by Cengage, which promptly changes its name to DisCengage.
• Borders merges with Barnes & Noble in the US and announces plans to build an international bookselling chain … all over again.
• French mega-publisher Lagardère buys another ailing UK publishing house only to discover six months later that it already owned it.
• Clive James finally finds the speech he was supposed to make at last year’s Melbourne Writers Festival.
• With both the continuing consolidation of publishers and the proliferation of literary awards, we finally arrive at the day when one publisher wins everything.
• Christmas stock deliveries are flawless as distributors fail to reach agreement on whose turn it is to muck things up.

By all means share your own predictions with readers of this blog by making a comment below.

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