It seems as if every popular magazine or newspaper I pick up has an article about ebooks, downloading content, changes in the compensation model for authors and publishers. The professional journals and newsletters I read, take those very same topics and examine them from the library perspective – how will libraries be impacted by these changes, how can we stay current and relevant to our patrons.
A recent issue of Newsweek included an article on self-publishing. One author was unable to find a publisher for his first novel, decided to upload it to the Amazon Kindle Store, sold many copies, attracted the attention of a publisher, his book was published in hardcover. This is the opposite of the usual route.
This nontraditional route is becoming increasingly common. Print-on-demand is also a rapidly developing new model for publishing. One author reports earning more money per ebook than per hardcover – basically the middleman has been cut out in that model.
I like a quote in the article: “The gatekeepers have become who they should have been in the first place: the readers.” We readers decide what we want to read, in what format we want to read it, and if we want to buy it or check it out from the library. Some authors attribute the success of books published in these nontraditional ways to user generated reviews….we readers express our opinions freely and now increasingly widely.
Clearly these publishing changes will impact public libraries. We’ll follow developments closely. As those who read move increasingly into ebooks and downloadable content, we’ll provide more and more books in those formats too, but we’ll continue to have the traditional print books for quite some time.
Personally, I still prefer a traditional book, especially for the beach, but since I wrote my last blog entry, I’ve seen my first e-reader on the Lake Michigan beach.
The self-publishing manual : how to write, print, and sell your own book by Dan Poynter