Friday, August 29, 2014

Books Are Not Dead

At least once a month, Facebook suddenly has a post that goes viral about some famous actor who mysteriously dies in some freak accident. Of course, after everyone and their brother SHARES the link with their friends with lines such as "RIP..." or "Wow, I am totally bummed..." we then get a post that says it was some dork out there making up the story. All I can say is "Ha, ha, ha, that is soooo, funny" (did you sense the sarcasm there).

In publishing, we are seeing the same thing. We are all seeing posts proclaiming "the death of the publishing industry." The death is a result of:

  • self-publishing taking over
  • Amazon taking over the world with their drones
  • traditional publishing not willing to change
  • the CIA with the help of aliens at Area 51 are taking over
Sure enough, with each of these articles, the authors are showing clear evidence with numbers and data to show why we are reaching the publishing apocalypse. Of course when I see these articles, I am often reminded of those people we see on the street telling us the end is near.

But we know that often know that these rumors are often exaggerated and unfounded.

The truth is that this business right now is in a state of change. We're not talking about death, but simply a metamorphosis into a different version of what we have seen so far. Who knows what that change will be, but it is going to be around in the future.

People do like to read, but since the economic crunch, people had to make a decision as to whether they would buy milk or buy a book. People have become fixated on all of this great technology of tablets and the ability to connect with each other in social media. Yes, they can read on these devices, but the immediate fascination is on the flash of the other media. In many ways, think of Christmas day and opening packages. We are drawn to the flash and not necessarily the books.

We have to be cautious of responding irrationally to all of these publishing death rumors. Sure, sales might not be strong right now but that doesn't mean things won't pick up. In fact, I have seen sales numbers slowly moving in a positive direction. It might not be at the rate we all want, but things are improving. Like everything else in this business, things take time to change. Don't expect to see a change this week or even next week. It may take months to get us back to full steam again.

I am confident, however, the end is not near at all! Besides, if it was the end, why on earth would I still be asking for submissions?

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