Although I am a self-confessed believer in the future of ebooks, the future isn’t entirely rosy for everyone. The BBC has reported that Cambridge University Press has announced plans to cut nearly 160 members of staff from their printing and publishing departments. A CUP spokeswoman has declared that this is in no small part due to the advances in technology and the predicted impact of the ebook:
“We expect the introduction of eReaders to have a similar effect on the printing and publishing industry as the iPod has had on the music industry.
“Knowing that we were having problems making a profit now – and forecasting future changes – we had to take the difficult decision to scale down.”
Such drastic action is premature to say the least, and I hope an institution like the CUP doesn’t live to regret such a rash move. As I have said before, I do not believe that ebooks will replace paper copies altogether, they will complement them. It will not have the same impact as mp3s had on the music industry as there are a great many differences between the two. One hopes that other publishers do not jump to such rash conclusions, particularly in the current economic climate.