The FGSR team made a presentation during the PubMagNet meeting about the challenges of the European cultural industry -or the World’s publishing industry in general- to compete with GAFA and platform model companies. One of the concepts that the FGSR manages is that of “soft innovation” as a specific way of the cultural sector to adapt to the new landsacpe. In these interviews, participants in the meeting were asked for opinions on this situation.
Andrew Albanese (Publishers Weekly) explains that “Ten years ago I think the landscape looked a lot different, publishers operated much more from a position of fear: what’s going to happen in a digital future” but “Ten years after I think we’d come to the realization that books are here to stay”
The most important thing for publishers is the competition for consumers attention and “literacy is the tool, is the silver bullet”, thinks Albanese.
Fabrice Piault (Livres Hebdo) considers that there used to be a “bookworld” and the trend is that publishers develop other products -different to books- using the same IP and booksellers also diversify. Amazon is part of the book world but books are no so important for Amazon.
Carrenho (PublishNews) thinks that GAFA should not be seen as enemies but means to disseminate content. He thinks that the main problem is that book sector is too conservative, moreover, may be some strategies around startups could be part of the solution as a way to face the big corporate companies from the publishing sector side.
Lena Scherer (Buchreport) concedes that GAFA is a huge challenge for the European model of content industry because those companies compete for the attention of the people with the traditional publishing sector. Nevertheless, Scherer is convinced that in the context of a hectic society there is an opportunity for books, because people can sit down, relax and read at their own pace so this is an asset in the fast and moving world.
Carlo Carrenho and Antonio Martín (PublishNews, Spain), Andrew Albanese (Publishers Weekly, USA), Rüdiger Wischenbart (Wischenbart Consulting, Austria), Fabrice Piault (Livres Hebdo, France) and Thomas Wilking, Buchreport and Lena Scherer (Buchreport, Germany) joined with several experts from Spain and LatinAmerican countries at the centre or Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez in Madrid.