Ebook sales are tearing up the publishing world like Ghengis Khan's last leisurely ride through China a few years back. And interestingly, with each month's posting of total ebook sales, the increase in sales over the previous month's reporting rises almost exponentially (check out below).
So my prediction. For traditional publishers to stay in business--and if they have any interest whatsoever in remaining in traditional publishing--they have to reduce prices in the cost of a book. Simply have to in order to attract buyers. And reduce prices drastically.
So what will have to change in order to do that?
I remember reading an article not long ago that said the high price of hard covers has nothing to do with materials and everything to do with timing. They are the first to go out, so they carry the highest price.
I'll be dipped if I can find the link to it, though. It was posted on C'Space somewhere. I don't know, someone help me out here.
That's the one, you get the Gold Star, Tanis! John's quote is the one I was thinking of:
"1: Publishers have always thought that when you buy a hardback, what you're paying more for is the chance to own it on the day of publication."
Actually, I have found no appreciable difference in sales for my trade paperback and my hardback. Tpb at 15.00, but marked down to 11.00 or 12.00, hrdcover at 29.00, marked down to 19.00.
Most of my sales come from established fans and libraries.
"One reason publishers were slow to get into e-books was that the sales did take away from existing sales - there's a fancy MBA phrase for this, "cannabilized market share" or something like that, so the VP of hardcovers or paperbacks, or both, would fight the establishment of an e-book division as long as they could because even though in the long run the publisher's sales may increase, in the short term their department's sales would decrease and everybody thinks in the short term and only about their own department."
Many years ago, while serving as a newspaper publisher, I was taken to task - repeatedly - for being very aggressive with our website. I was told I was cannibalizing circulation. This was maybe eight or nine years ago, but I had a hunch that if I didn't capture the local "Internet" market, there'd be no circulation left to cannibalize.
For whatever reason, publishing in all its forms - books, newspapers, magazines - have been very slow to adapt to the new and emerging technologies, despite their huge advantages in reach and content. The result is they are now fighting hard for survival.
I see a window of opportunity here. Some new/small/independent publisher comes along and can create a hard back books featuring good writers in the $10/15 range and I think they would be a big, big hit. More interestingly, I'd bet all of a brand new nickle this independent publisher could find some moderate to well known writers to do books for them. Offer the writer a small signing package, but a bigger bite in the royalities and ebook rights.
I think there are a number of good writers who would jump at this.