Publishers are treading difficult and uncharted waters. Make no mistake, whether the big houses admit it aloud or not, they are grabbing the life raft and hoping for the best. Forces are pulling them under from all sides.
US readership is on the decline. High stakes bets on repeat titles based on off concepts, and a slew of celebrity books have eroded the bottom line, and made the book buyer weary. Kindles and iPads have taken the market by storm, threatening publishing’s very life force, the hardcover and its higher margins. Social networks can expose hype surrounding a title in mere hours. Never before have so many readers questioned the pricing model of books and voted with their dollars, either by not buying at all, or opting for book swaps, used titles, or electronic versions.
The Internet and its “invisible” margins which large publishers fear may be their very destruction, may be just the salvation authors need. Every day, publishers are losing control of the distribution model they have manipulated for over a hundred years, and if comments at this year’s Book Expo are any indication, they haven’t the faintest clue what to do about it. Denial can not alter one fact: The Internet has torn down the Berlin Wall of publishing that had kept writers and readers separated.
Out of this chaos, comes great change and even greater opportunity. For the first time in a long time, readers are back in the driver’s seat. If they don’t like what they see cropping up on the shelves, they can look elsewhere. And for the first time ever, writers have a way to reach readers—no matter where those readers live, or what language they speak. The Internet is fast becoming the most viable distribution and marketing channel for books, be they electronic or print.
There has never been a better time to be a reader, or a writer.
*guest post by Sam Hilliard on the Hot Author Report. To read more go to: