Here’s a doom-and-gloom article about the publishing industry with a twist: it might not all be doom and gloom.
Despite the continual stream of stories about authors making $10,000 a month or more on self-published ebooks and in the process crushing traditional publishing out of existence, Evan Hughes in Wired magazine (April 2013) says there’s another side of the story.
- “In one week,
people . . . bought half a million copies of a really long book called Steve Jobs,” a book about the man who famously said in 2008 that people don’t read anymore.
- Nearly 3 billion books are sold every year.
- “Amazon likes to point out that new Kindle buyers go on to purchase almost five times as many books from Amazon, print and digital, in the ensuing year as they did in the prior one.”
- Self-publishing mega-successes are the exception. “In general, new writers gain much more than they lose by signing with a major house. Most self-published authors have trouble selling a copy outside of their immediate family.”
- Fifty Shades of Gray, rather than defining self-publishing success, is evidence of the opposite. “The book became a massive commercial success only after Random House got involved.”
- “Few writers relish the work of being their own publisher.”
Of course, landmines still abound for publishers.
- “The industry is plagued by what indie-publishing entrepreneur Richard Nash has called the ‘pathology of unearned advances.’ “
- Ironically, in its attempt to suppress collusion between various publishers and
Apple at the launch of its iBooks, the Department of Justice has put Amazon.com in an even stronger position to monopolize the industry.
- Big-ticket authors with established audiences are well positioned to abandon traditional publishers and go solo.
So those who believe publishing is full of doom and gloom still have something to cheer them!