Depressing reading or not, thanks Ron for this link to Grumpy Old Bookman's prognostications about what the future holds for book retailing and the novel.
There's a tremendous amount in the post (more a treatise than a blog post!) and I think I'll be picking up some of the points (especially about growing new writers, print-on-demand and the future of the bookshop) to toss around myself in future posts.
GOB predicts nothing short of the death of the novel, as reading loses ground to other more accessible media. And in the shorter term, he predicts the growth of print-on-demand booths replacing the traditional selling of books.
Michael Allen has also very generously made available a free e-book On The Survival of Rats in the Slush Pile which demonstrates "that success for writers and publishers is governed by randomness (chance) to a far greater extent than is generally realised" and to outline some survival strategies for book-trade participants. Essential reading.