May You Live In Exciting Times!
I think this quote (can't remember who to attribute it to) is so perfect for the writing/publishing world that writers operate in today. In so many ways, it feels a lot like the "wild west." Here we are with an unprecedented change in an industry brought about by the Internet. The book publishing world is being turned on its head daily.
The "gatekeepers" of the industry (big publishing houses) are seeing their business model sink like Indiana Jones in a quicksand pit. All of their standard methods for generating profits are changing, mainly thanks to the availability of eBooks that can be read on a multitude of electronic devices. I equate this to what the iPod did to the music industry. When it became possible to swap music digitally, the rules that previously governed a large industry changed overnight.
Book publishing is seeing the same seismic shift. Now small publishers and authors can take control of the process and reach out to the consumer, bypassing the "gatekeepers." More and more books are being sold in digital formats (eBooks) and consumers are finding it cheaper and more convenient to purchase books via online sites like Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, and others. Who wins in this change? The same group that won when the music industry changed - Consumers.
Fewer gatekeepers means MORE artists get their material out to the public. Consumers will ultimately decide what they like, how much they will pay, and what format they will choose for reading books. I can't see why anyone would think that print will continue to prosper. It just doesn't sync up with what consumers truly want - cheap, more choices, and convenience.
Disclaimer: I'm truly a babe in the woods when it comes to predictions about this industry. But I would venture a strong opinion that so are most people that have decades of publishing industry experience. None of us truly know what's coming. But for me, I feel truly blessed to live in these "exciting times."
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