If you keep up with the publishing industry like I do you’re aware of the growing uphevel. You could say that the storm has been brewing for a while but it hit a dangerous level the end of last year when Amazon announced it sold more e-books than conventional book during the holiday season. Apple added it’s own bit of turbulence with the introduction of the iPad and it’s iBook store. Not only did Apple offer a larger percentage for the writer (70%), it also encouraged writers to sign up for its store. I read where one literary agency announced it is taking the old books of it’s authors directly to Amazon instead of the traditonal publisher route. And more articles are appearing that indicate the bastions of the major publishing route for writers are conceding the their stance against self publishing.
What does this mean for the writer? Well I see it as an exciting time for a resourceful person. E-book portals give writers direct access to readers. The cost of books are less but the profit margins are higher and a writer doesn’t have the same overhead costs as a major publisher. With the right Print On Demand partner you can produce books for sell directly. With e-books you may be able to do it all yourself, which saves you even more money. If the writer is a main stream published writer he or she can realize the best of all worlds, publishing mainstream while self publishing rejected works or personal projects via e-books.
Of course there are drawbacks. Publishing your own stuff means selling and marketing it yourself, too. And access to the marketplace still won’t sell a book if it’s bad or the public is not interested. Still, it looks like e-readers are having the same effect on the publishing industry as mp3s had on the music industry. I envision a scenario where mid level writers who take advantage of the opportunities will gain, while the big advances paid by the majors will diminish because of the competition. Mid level writers may also find their books appearing as e-books initially until the book proves it has legs and is worth the investment for hard copy. So many challenges. So many opportunities.