I don’t think it’s exactly an earth shattering statement to most people: traditional publishing is dead. With the iPad and Kindle, the need for print is less and less. The devices we choose to read on are only part of why publishing is dead. The bigger reason is that content is now a buyer’s market. Let me provide a good example. Her name is Amanda Hocking and she is an ebook publisher. Amanda charges $1 to $3 a book and she has written 9 so far and sold 164,000 copies of her books in 2010.
The traditional barriers to entry for publishing are gone. The upfront printing costs are also gone. Why not self publish and leave it up to the people? One could argue this ebook trend could lead to lower quality content getting published. With or without editorial oversight, the people have spoken. More than 20 million people read ebooks last year, who knows how much larger that number will be this year? E-books are now surpassing printed books from some publishers.
So how does Amanda promote her ebooks? She does it with social media, which is relatively low cost if you aren’t advertising. Genius! But there is opposition to this e-book trend, mainly from authors themselves. They claim that if the expectation is set at $0.99 then it will stay that way. It will be hard for an author to start raising prices once the e-book crowd gets used to such a low price point. I don’t buy this argument. If someone wants a book, they like the author, they will pay. It’s silly to think that someone would hesitate to buy a book because it was $2.99 vs. $0.99.
For me personally the biggest issue with e-books is traveling. You don’t have a to charge up a paperback book and you don’t have to put it away for take off. Sometimes you can sit on the jetway for up to an hour! Good ol’ paper comes in handy at some points…