Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Is The Face of Publishing Changing?

I was talking to a writer this last weekend and she began a conversation by stating, "well, you know the face of publishing is really changing with e-publishing..." She went on to say that her observation was that publishers were now looking at new things... I had to stop her at this point.

First of all, let me say that for many publishers, the e-format is just an added (please note the word added) way of marketing stories to readers. What you will find is that the number of print books coming out is still staying fairly constant. There is still a readership out there that want the feel of the books. Publishers are just doing both with the stories.

Secondly, you will notice that many of the publishers have found that by adding the electronic format to those print books will often extend the run and the sales. In fact, you have probably seen several other agents talking about the royalty statements showing this increase in sales.

There have been several discussions about the rise in e-reader sales and what this tells us. Yes, people are buying e-readers, but honestly, there is also a VERY huge population out there that don't own an e-reader. These are the people that still love the print books and yes, they still actively use the library system. To add to this confusion, there has also been research that seems to demonstrate that many of the e-book sales have come from two factors: the first are people who received gift cards for books with their e-readers; and secondly there are people just buying "copies" of the books they already own but like to read over and over again, except this time, in e-format.

The point is, many of these numbers are deceiving. Just be careful trying to read more into the numbers.

Just something to consider on a Tuesday.



  1. Although my first book sale will be released soon via e-book with the print version to follow, I would have to say you are absolutely "right on" in regards to this post. I don't even have an e-reader!!! I prefer the book in hand. As you state, expansion of the industry is the change.

  2. Her statement is correct when adding the word, "self". Because the face of self publishing has changed drastically with the world of e. Few remember self publishing has always been a valid option for niche market books. Now publishing and marketing those books is a whole lot easier.

  3. Thanks for the clarification. I'm one of those who doesn't yet own an e-reader! For now, I still love the feel of a print book.