Predicition: cheaper hard back books coming--and soon

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?

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Or maybe it's more like the car business - some cheap compacts and some expensive luxury cars.

I buy maybe 5-6 hardcovers a year at around twenty-five dollars each. I wouldn't buy more at ten or fifteen dollars because there really aren't that many more I want or could get to in a year.

e-books are going to mostly replace paperbacks.

The big change I think we're going to see in publishing is what we've seen in the movie business - more money spent on less product from the big players. And a very big gap between the blockbusters and the low budget independents.

When the technology changes started to happenin the movie business there was great talk about how the making of movies would become cheaper and spread out among more people. Instead what happened was indie filmmakers used their low budget product as "Hollywood auditions" and signed on with studios for big budget movies as soon as they could.

Kind of like Amanda Hocking.

I think publishing is safe.

Hmm . . . you make a compelling arguement, John.


Exactly. The indie book is the new query letter.
Agreed. Ran the same prediction by Mike Shatzkin a while back, and he did not disagree.

Yes, I'll buy John's argument, though perhaps we're already there.  As long as they don't promote anyone but the bestselling authors, you already have the Hollywood situation.


My bet is that electronic rights will become a battle ground.  Authors want their books in print. That means they have to sell electronic rights also, and for small percentages.  In the end, the author again makes only a few bucks.


I don't see mmpbs disappearing as quickly as John predicts. More likely it will be trade paperbacks. I don't like them, and they have done nothing for my sales.

Here we'll politely disagree, I.J.  I think from here on out lit agents and writers are going to negotiate more forcefully for a decent cut of the ebpub rights.  Asking for 50% is not much.  And knowing that an established writer could make as much, if not more, money than going thur the traditional route to publishing, I suspect traditional publishers will not balk much at that request.
BR, IJ's publisher didn't pick up her next book because she and her agent fought to get a greater share of the ebook profits.  I doubt she's going to agree with your assessment.
Hmmm . . . didn't know that.  Their dumb decision.  Yet still, accepting 15% or less for ebook rights seems not right.

This is true, though the story is more complicated. They bought the first two books without e-rights. When they were interested in buying the next two, they not only wanted e-rights (25 %, author share if I can recall) for these, but also for the previous ones.  The contract depended on this deal and we refused.


I have since heard from an author who got an offer of 50 % share from SMP.


Mind you, if it turns out that I can make better money from going directly to Kindle, I see no reason why I should be interested in the 50 %.  Advances have become minuscule.

Considering the largest part of the cost of a hardback is the money that goes to the distributor/bookseller, I don't see how they can reduce the cost of the book much and still make their expenses.


It may become more of a luxury item, but I doubt the hardback is quite the sinking ship you seem to think it is.



No you won't, buddy.  You'll just adjust to the new technology like the rest of us will.


What about print on demand (like the Espresso Book Machine)?


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