The Current State of Publishing and Bookselling, Part 8
THE NEAR AND FAR FUTURE OF PUBLISHING
Here's my forecast on the future of publishing.
Essentially, most publishing professionals are worried about the wrong things and not paying attention to the real dangers as the publishing world changes.
It's not about too many titles, it's not about the change from paper to ebook, it's not about what bookstores are doing.
It's about the fight for the conduits of media, both paper and digital, to the consumer, and it's a fight that may already be lost to Amazon.
Amazon is doing everything right. They are bleeding publishing through used books and pricing control while doing almost everything better than brick and mortar stores, and now they are making a dramatic move to take over a major chunk of the digital arena with the Kindle.
Big publishing, meanwhile, is looking the other way as small publishers are fighting Amazon about POD and even greater price controls because the big guys don't think Amazon will go after them next.
Paper, ink, and bookstores are still here and will be here for some time, but they can't survive long term because digital books are simply too dang efficient in every sense.
The bookstores will go first because people are more stressed for time than for money, and online is easier. Before the bookstores go, they will effectively kill what is left of midlist fiction in their ongoing effort to stock bestsellers and list leaders to the exclusion of midlist.
Meanwhile, the used book industry will suck away even more of the profit from paper publishing until it collapses in a sea of red ink.
Books will move into digital format, but new books and new writers will continue to be buried under a sea of backlist moving into digital format.
Platforms will continue to be the means of success for most authors, and other authors will be relegated to niche markets and scrambling for readers.
A long story short. Sell all your stock in bookstores and publishers, and buy Amazon stock. It's probably the only way any of us will make much money in the coming climate of change.
THE FUTURE FOR WRITERS?
It's been many years since most authors have supported themselves through their words, and this will not improve.
Publishing in its usual heedless manner will use the authors' profits as a means to bolster its own bottom line as the distributors suck the publisher dry.
As history has proven, most readers will be more concerned with their own time and money than the future of writers and publishing so they will continue to frequent Amazon, one stop online digital providers, and the box stores for their reading.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
Write if it's a joy, work hard toward whatever goal you have for success in your writing career, educate yourself on the business, and plan for your future as if you won't see much income coming from that writing.
Don't trade your life for writing dreams. It will be a bitter and uneven trade even if you succeed beyond your wildest dreams.
And do dream. It's what makes you the unique writer and person you are.