Will book publishers be able to maintain primacy as ebook publishers? | The Passive Voice's Fantastic Post!

I love this analysis that Passive Guy - or Passive Voice, I'm not sure which he prefers - has just published and I can't resist giving you the link to his post here: 
Will book publishers be able to maintain primacy as ebook publishers? | The Passive Voice:


Passive Guy argues convincingly that traditional publishers have fallen prey to the well-known shortcomings of monopolists: rigidities, slowness, lack of invention, incapacity to respond to consumer demand. Just like Microsoft, once a highly innovative company that for a while was a near-monopoly in its industry, has become slow and uninventive - stuck in a rut and no longer able to make money outside of its "cash cow", ie the Microsoft Office products.


Faced with competition from Amazon and to a lesser extent from other etailers, chief among them Barnes and Noble, traditional  book publishers - meaning the Big Six - will find it hard or even impossible to maintain their primacy as ebook publishers. That's what both the Passive Voice and the Shatzkin Files maintain, and you better listen to what they say, they're the best bloggers in this area, with illuminating analyses of changes in the publishing industry.


I would just add to everything they've said that in my opinion the single reason Amazon managed to sail ahead of traditional publishers is that IT MAINTAINS RECORDS OF ITS CUSTOMERS. 


Amazon knows what people like to buy and therefore presents them with relevant attractive choices. So they keep buying. 


Simple. 


And that's something traditional publishers can't do. Other things they can't do is run readers community clubs, forum threads of interest to readers to enhance book discovery, reader reviews, likes and tags...All internet-based tricks to enhance book discovery and accessibility.


If Michael Shatzkin is right - see his post here - and the book market is really headed for 80% of total book sales, then traditional publishers are really in...a hole!


The only way to climb out of this hole for book publishers would be to


(1) improve their search for new products (i.e. new authors and books)...Any ideas?


(2) understand better the reader market; so far, they've relied on "genres" to get an idea of how much a book might sell (romance outsells all other genres), but this is hardly an exact science! They need to run book reader surveys and find out exactly what's going on, what people like to read, what they're looking for. And perhaps, but that might be too revolutionary, work some agreement with Amazon to find out what their customers buy so that they can come up with better books more appropriate to reader demand...As a minimum they could analyze the Amazon site and find out what books "other customers have bought": in the aggregate, that would give an indication of people's tastes in books.


Any other suggestions?

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