The publishing world is in flux as multiple trends converge to challenge old rules and create new ones. Here are the five most important trends facing publishing today:
1. Book selling is moving online as brick and mortar bookstores disappear.
2. Reading is moving to screens as ebooks replace print books.
3. New publishing and distribution tools empower authors to become professional publishers while eroding the monopolistic edge once held by large publishers.
4. Digital distribution enables authors and publishers to efficiently reach a global market
5. An over-supply of books and alternative media content will place downward pressure on eBook prices.
These trends create an environment where indie authors and small publishers can out publish and out-compete the larger publishers. A mere four or five years ago, publishers controlled the printing press and access to retail distribution. Today, thanks to free eBook publishing and distribution tools, the eBook printing press is free and available to any author.
Distribution has become democratized, and global, thanks to the foresight of retailers such as the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, Diesel, and Amazon. These retailers are hungry to carry the ebooks of indie authors. They want indie ebooks because these books satisfy their customers and sell well. Retailers also understand that readers couldn’t care less about the name of the publisher on the book’s virtual spine. Readers simply want great books.
The implications of this revolution are profound. Writers are now in charge. Readers are the new curators. You, the writer, decide when your manuscript graduates to published book. You are your own gatekeeper. You will bypass the traditional industry gatekeepers and publish directly to your readers around the globe. Along with this power shift also comes the responsibility of authors to honor the best practices of the best traditional publishers. You must publish a quality, professional book that is as good as, or better than, those published by traditional publishers. Readers have little tolerance for anything less, which is how it should be.
We live in an age of media abundance. Consumers have unlimited access to myriad high quality sources of entertainment and knowledge. Much of this content is available for free. Yet despite the prevalence of free content options, readers will still purchase your book because your book is unique.
Darwin is in charge. This is a game of survival of the fittest.