Amanda Mariel here, talking about the future of publishing and more specifically eBooks. I have read several articles about this in the past week or two and coupled with the announcements that Samhain and Nook UK eBook store will be closing it is heavy on my mind. I think I have a unique perspective on all of this as I work as an editor for a large publisher, am an author, and also a reader of both eBooks and paperbacks.
Every article I read features someone sharing their own theory on the future as well as what they think is currently going wrong for publishers. Two of the more popular theories seem to be: 1. Indie publishing is killing publishing houses. And 2. Readers are feed up with eBooks that are not up to par. I disagree on both counts!
Let me start with number one: Indie is the death of publishers. NO it is not! But I do think indie publishing is reshaping the face of publishing. Indie authors are savvy people. They are also brave to forge ahead on their own without a publisher backing them. Many indie’s are doing very well, hitting bestseller lists and amassing large fan bases. But there are also many authors out there who are not comfortable with going it alone. These authors will continue to turn to publishers.
What does it all mean? How will it affect the landscape of publishing? I have asked myself these questions and this is my theory. We will continue to see small publishers fall and perhaps even a couple more of the larger ones. We will also continue to see new small presses opening but I do not think any of them will last. The publishers that remain in the long run will be the big guys who have something to offer their authors beyond editing, formatting, and a cover. As the smaller publishers die out we will see more and more indie authors taking the field. Eventually it will all smooth out and we will be left with big publishers and indie authors. On a side note-Amazon is not going anywhere. They will continue to evolve and dominate the eBook industry.
Now for number two: Readers are sick of eBooks and ready to embrace print again due in large part to quality issues. Again, I disagree! Readers are smart and adaptive. They have learned how to spot eBooks that are not up-to-snuff. Things like cover art, formatting, and editing all point to a books quality and readers know how to weed through them. They can preview a books first chapter or so on most retailers to look at formatting and get a sample of the editing. Covers are the first thing readers see when they look at a book promotion or page. Reviews also help readers to some extent in determining a books quality.
EBooks are not going away. In fact, I believe they are only going to continue to be in demand. That said print books are not going away either. We are and will continue to see them regain popularity for some time. Eventually it will all level out just as the publishing industry will. When it does we will be left with a great variety of print and eBooks. Many savvy authors are already diversified offering eBook, print, and in many cases audio editions of their books. This will continue because readers drive the market-not publishers and not authors. Readers enjoy several formats and to be competitive the smart publishers and authors provide that variety.
I would love to hear your thoughts and predictions. Leave them as a comment and let’s talk!