At the London Book Fair on Tuesday, HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray made a keynote appearance in conversation with David Roche, an industry consultant in the UK.
“Murray confirmed that, after two unprecedented years of growth during the pandemic, the book business is coming back to Earth,” reports Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer.
“Murray said the publishing industry had had a pandemic party, that 2022 was the hangover, and we’re just getting through the hangover now,” Albanese says. “Nevertheless, Murray sounded an optimistic note, saying there were ‘positive signs out there’ for the industry, too.”
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Murray also addressed the role of generative AI in publishing, given the recent rise of chatbots such as ChatGPT.
“I find it really interesting how panicked some in the business seem to be over generative AI, which Murray called fascinating and scary – which it is,” Albanese tells me.
“The technology threat to publishers, however, was never really going to come on the product side, from pirated pdfs or or Google scanning books, but on the creative side,” he notes. “And that seems to be what everyone is spooked about – machine-written content and any related threat to copyright and creativity.”