Thursday, October 27, 2011

Who Will Rule?

More and more authors are self-publishing, especially self-pubbing in the e-format. But traditional book publisher are not giving up. They’re still backing print, but are also hedging their bets by taking on publishing their clients’ books in e-form (and taking a percentage of the sales).

I came across an article on The Idea Logical Company that addresses this situation. Here are some snippets from it:
I think we’re going to see a US market that is 80% digital for narrative text reading in the pretty near future: could be as soon as two years from now but almost certainly within five.

Magazines and television networks and web sites are recognizing the reality that self-publishing ebooks is something they can do themselves without the complications (or revenue-sharing) that working with a publisher would require.

“… will publishers be able to persuade these non-publisher brands that it is worth giving up margin and some control to work with publishers in the years to come?
You can read the full article here.

My questions are: What do you think? Will publishers survive? Will they survive, but be marginalized? Will publishers survive because they are the ones who assure e- and print books are edited and worth the money? Or will readers be the gate keepers and judge of quality via their wallets?


  1. I think it depends on how publishers go forward. As far as gatekeeping, I've noticed an interesting effect - more self published books are getting 5 star reviews on book blogs, with many big 6 published books getting 4 or even 3 stars.
    There's also been a downward trend in the editing quality from the big 6...
    They'll have to give a higher percentage of profit to the author for ebooks if they want to entice someone to sign too.

  2. Interesting that more than just writers are looking into the self-publishing of eBooks.
    I think the ranks of publishers at the top and bottom will be thinned. Writers can access most of what small publishers offer or they can access all the big ones offer by going with a mid-range publisher who offers a higher royalty, no agent requirement, and more hands-on working with authors.

  3. It all makes my head spin, Helen. I wouldn't presume to try to predict what's going to happen. I've just strapped myself in for the ride.

  4. I think readers will have the final say. Looking at the books I have downloaded to my iPad, half are self-published.

  5. I am absolutely positive that publishers with either survive or go away.

  6. Now that almost any author can publish their own ebook, they have to be asking what service can the publisher provide that they can't do themselves. The critical question is your last one, "will readers be the judges via their wallets?" The answer is yes. So unless publishers can help the author get through to the readers who are opening their wallets, publishers will be useless. It might be that publishers will decline and publicists will emerge. Many of them are emerging and many of them are selective in who they take on.

  7. Helen I'm not a published author but since blogging I've been reading quite a bit on this subject. I think besides readers such as myself choosing better priced books by authors, other pressing issues that are have made authors question the publisher relevance are; if you have an agent and a publisher why do you still have to do all the marketing yourself. In going independent they get to do that anyway and not have to share profits and they can determine the price of their product. I think perhaps the publisher will have to revisit their own product offering to the author in the very near future.
    As a reader I started out being very skeptical towards indie authors because of editing problems but this is improving. I've given some very good ratings in recently.


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