This is a series I wrote and released on this day seven years ago.
As it turns out, I was prophetic. Just about everything I spoke about in this series is more or less the state of the industry right now…or heading there. For that reason, I’m bringing it forward again, so it doesn’t get lost in the stacks. — t.
Are print publishers really doomed?
In a word, no.
Oh, the industry is going through all sorts of shake ups and dire times, no argument.
But publishing – especially fiction publishing — has always been a business not for the weak of heart. Businessmen looking for guaranteed returns go elsewhere. You don’t get into fiction publishing unless some part of you loves books for the sake of story, not the doubtful returns they might bring.
So publishers already in the game are used to fantastic odds and belt-tightening.
They’ve just never seen a revolution coming at ’em before.
The smart publishers, though, have already embraced the idea that ebooks are the wave of the future. They’ve retooled and reworked their business model and are offering new deals for authors and readers.
Already, many of the New York publishers trade electronic rights first these days. Print rights for a novel have already become subsidiary rights.
So, will print publishers disappear?
Some may. It’s a fact that this industry is unforgiving and publishers close their doors all the time. With the change over to ebooks, some publishers may not be able to make the leap. Maybe they’ll fumble it by being too greedy with their pricing structure for the new technology. Perhaps they won’t be able to get a grip on the delivery of the new technology. Perhaps the leaders of their organization simply can’t cope with the idea of not printing paper books and will bail out of the business on principle.
But most print publishers will morph into e-book publishers.
And then they will face their next big challenge: Indie authors.