Books Publishing

The dire-sounding (or not) future of the publishing world

Nathan Bransford: It’s the end of publishing as we know it: do you feel fine?

In essence, it’s the best of times and the worst of times. If you’re an enterprising author there is a world of opportunity out there. Never before have we had a book publishing world where truly anyone could publish and potentially find their readers. Before there was a fundamental obstacle: distribution. That’s going away. Anyone can publish. It’s a massive, groundbreaking shift! I suspect soon there will be even more opportunities for collectives and online communities to boost sales, build brands, and become real players in publishing. Out of chaos comes order.

Bransford also links to Peter Olson’s article A long winter, which sparked his own post. Peter Olson predicts a major shift toward e-books and digital readers.

Well, in my opinion there are two meta forces at work in book publishing at the moment. With the closing of bookstores, fewer titles being ordered by the bookstores that are left, and more people buying their books in stores where there are fewer titles available (i.e. box stores like WalMart), there is tremendous pressure on publishers to invest in the few books that can reliably sell.

Both posts seem understandably ambivalent — ebooks may democratize the publishing process, but the writers self-publishing their work may be struggling to win over a smaller body of readers, and fighting against even larger blockbuster monoliths.

Also: I’m curious about the Kindle. The few people I know who have one seem to adore them. I hear the Kindle 2 is coming out soon, and it sure looks cuter than the first one. Thoughts?

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