E-commerce not a threat but a boon for publishers: Penguin

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Sydney, Oct 22 (UNI) By giving its helping hand to marketing, experimentation and reaching out to young readers, internet has indeed proved a boon for the publishing industry.

The explosion in online retailing has not damaged the way it was expected and the internet has in many ways been a boon for booksellers, Penguin Chief Executive and Chairman John Makinson said.

The publisher was rattled by the threat of fast-growing online auction giants like eBay but has discovered that unlike the music industry people still want to own a physical book.

Addressing a press conference recently, Mr Makinson said, ''There is a lot going on in the music publishing industry that is not going on in the book industry. Consumers don't want albums they want tracks and in publishing people want books not chapters.'' Although sales of second-hand books, which appear on online auction sites shortly after release, have posed a threat to hardback business as well as subsequent paperback releases, the impact has not been as great as expected,he noted.

''The used book market doesn't seem to have made the inroads into the new book market we initially feared,'' the Age quoted him as saying.

Penguin's owner Pearson recently launched http://www.spinebreakers.co.uk, a web portal with video and audio book reviews aimed at and managed by teenagers.

''These are our readers of the future,'' said Mr Makinson, adding that Spinebreakers also provides valuable strategic insight into how teens create and share publishing information via the web.

New research and experimenting are the industry buzzwords, he added.


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