Sunday, April 17, 2011

I saw it on, so it must be true.

"E-book sales top paperbacks for first time". This tidbit of news was published in the Technology section at  I thought perhaps it would be more appropriate in the Business news. E-book sales were $90.3 million in February. That's up 202% over February of last year.    Or may be in Entertainment; at least I find books entertaining.

If truth be told, legacy publishers must be taking notice and scratching their heads.  Technology advances and the old crumbles away.   I remember paying $19.95 a month to AOL so I could dial up on my home phone to get on the Internet.  Then IP's came by and who'd pay that extra fee, so AOL went for free.  Twenty years ago, Ma Bell collected $0.10 per minute every time I made a long distance phone call.  Then came VOIP with providers springing up all over the place and, poof! I get everything for one low price.  Publishers once controlled the business deciding what I'd read and how much I'd pay.  Thanks to the Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the others I get a better selection, larger choice and it costs less.  Anyone can print a book with POD or e-book publish for little or nothing.  Let the readers decide what they want.

I had a great conversation with my agent when I decided to pull back my two YA mysteries about what was happening in the publishing world.  She said there was no way to predict anything.  Established writers with decent track records suddenly can't find a legacy publisher to print their next book.  My two YA books sound like something out of Disney channel sitcom, but no one will take the chance.  Placing a book with publisher became a guessing game of what do they really want.

Like telephone service and the Internet, technology is driving the prices down and offering choices.  For around five bucks I can enjoy a descent hamburger with fries and a drink.  I can get an affordable bottle of wine in the 5 to 10 dollar range. And the last TV I bought cost less than what it did twenty years ago. It's about time what I read became affordable and with more choices.  Legacy publishers should be paying attention and rethinking their business models.

Gives a whole new perspective to the saying: Publish or perish.

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