Second, Amazon’s Kindle has popularized e-books, which takes the process of delivering paper goods completely out of the equation. Instead, the Kindle delivers electronic files over the Internet to an e-reader, tablet, or smartphone.
While this has been a revolution for consumers, the Internet has done very little to revolutionize the publishing process for books. It is still ruled by publishing houses, who serve as the gatekeepers and filters for what gets published and decide which titles deserve the most promotion (and potential sales).
However, just as it did for news publishing, the Internet is about to completely democratize the publishing process for books. The combination of e-readers, electronic audiobooks, and print-on-demand have lowered the barriers to entry and made it so that authors no longer need publishing houses. They can take their work straight to the masses — or, more accurately, straight to their niche audiences, in most cases.
This completely changes the economics of book publishing for an author by making it very profitable to sell only 5,000-10,000 books. In the old publishing world, that’s about the average for most books and the author makes hardly any money and the publishing house considers it unsuccessful (the big titles are responsible for most of the sales and most of the payments for authors).
In the new Internet world, there are going to be a lot more books published (as e-books) and lot more titles to sort through, but it’s also going to become a much more democratic process and there will be room for more people to make a living as niche authors. The traditional publishers will morph into promotional agents for the really big titles.
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So what do you think?