In general, I'd say her blog is one of the best publishing industry blogs out there for writers who want to publish. She's very open to new types of publishing (more so than most industry professionals with her experience) and she takes on most ideas with a clarity that only a few publishing blogs have. (I envy her just a tad.)
But back to Digital Book World. The several big idea I noticed this year was that the recent reports have said digital copies for fiction bestsellers are already at 50%, meaning that even now, when digital books are still in their infancy as part of the mainstream reading culture, they already make up half of the copies sold.
That's incredible in my opinion. I mean, a lot of devout readers I know don't have e-readers yet. What happens when they do? Will the bestsellers move towards 75% digital in sales? Frankly, it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest.
This does mean a certain doom for major factions of the publishing world. Friedman points that Mike Shatzkin predicted a 90% drop in in-store bookselling space in ten years, but I just don't see it. People like bookstores. They simply have to come up with a new way to invent themselves again. Get away from the malls - go back to being smaller independents that don't need all the bells and whistles of mega-corporations.
I think the independent bookstores will come back up - once Borders is gone and after Barnes and Noble goes majority online. Sure, Amazon is fine when you know what you want - but a bookstore is where you find books you never knew existed.
Another key point from Digital Book World I want to address is how publishers and literary agents must rebrand themselves to protect their existence from a dwindling need for their services in the face of easy access self-publishing. Frankly, I don't see literary agents existing in twenty years in their current form. I'm not sure I even see the point now, unless you're a big name author whose got to deal with competing book deals, movie deals, and other large contracts. For the smaller writers, agents really don't have much purpose. Besides access, what can agents do that authors can't do themselves?
Now, onto publishers. I think most publishers have screwed themselves over in the last twenty years by slowing becoming a numbers-focused, advertising company. Because, no matter how numbers-focused you are, an author whose book is on the market is always going to be a better advocate for that book than a mega-corporation. And a publisher only dumps money into a book they know will get them a return - the rest of us, especially new writers, are left out in the cold. If the publisher isn't going to do the marketing, you do it yourself anyway.
This leaves publishers as printing and distributing agents only. Is that really enough for all those profits you as writers give up to publishers for their services? Lulu.com can do both of things for you - for a fraction of the cost. And the average person wouldn't be able to tell the difference in the quality of the book. I'm not saying that's truly the way to go, but it does make sense. If quality writers start to take their books elsewhere, you never know what will happen.
Writers might finally remember that they control their books and what happens to them - not the publishers or agents.
So, basically, my key takeaway from DBW for writers is we've got to figure out just what we are going to do with our bookstores, publishers, and agents. As they stand now, they're not worth as much as we're paying them.