With the stream of information from our computers uploading slower than the operating system inside our heads, how many of us still take time to read for pleasure or to learn more about a topic than you can find from a Wikipedia article? Is curling up with a novel or non-fiction book becoming passé, going the same way as print newspapers?
The numbers suggest otherwise. People still read but in a different way than before digital media came along. Total sales at US bookstores have dropped 22% over the past five years. Borders is history, and it appears Barnes & Noble is on its way out. But just because people aren’t buying their books from a store doesn’t mean they have stopped reading them. Amazon has revolutionized the way we obtain and read books, becoming the single largest seller of books in the country. Since 2008, around the time when e-books became popular, cumulative book sales have risen significantly. Meaning e-books are actually encouraging and allowing people to read more than they ever have. It should be no surprise, given the accessibility of tablets, phones, and laptops that allow us to browse, purchase, download and begin reading in a matter of minutes. You could say digital media has democratized book publishing,
For writers, the possibilities arising from this new wave of reading are limited only by a lack of imagination and poor work ethic. Self-motivated and creative self-publishers, mostly using Amazon as their marketing and publishing platform, have sprung to life as never before. This new, fast system of publishing skips the traditional publishers who reject manuscripts they deem unmarketable, and opens the door to any would-be author with the energy to write the book, design and print it, and then manage his or her own online marketing plan.
From our perspective, this new publishing paradigm squares nicely with our business because it has already created the need for publishing professionals who can guide writers through the process of self-publishing. Unlike many traditional publishers and book distributors, we embrace online marketing and promotional tools, most notably Amazon, to help self-publishers create their books and “get them out there.”
So… books are here to stay, whether they be electronic or print (or both, which we recommend). This means writers are here to stay, and that makes us happy.