I saw this article and prediction – that the top six publishers would become the top three. I don’t think so.
I agree with their prediction about self publishing but in addition to this there will be a continual number of new start ups. The reduction in the cost of technology, plus ease at which anyone on the street can now call themselves a ‘book publisher’, makes it easier for the novice to start up. The big companies will have to find smarter ways in which to utilise their assets, one or two may go on an acquisition hunt, but the majority will continue to consolidate and monopolise on the content they already own. Those who are looking to expand may look outside their core business or on the peripheries of the industry to build a media empire.
What I predict will also happen, is that as unfashionable lists are cut from major companies, entrepreneurial Publishers will emerge from the staff who have been made redundant. At the last recession in the 1990s, we saw people like Ian Chapman and Christopher Sinclair Stevenson (among others) set up on their own. A few years down the line they were acquired by other publishers, but they started up during some of the worst times for the book trade.
I maintain what I have said for those entering the industry during this period: Book Publishing is in its most exciting phase yet.