Anyway, here are some recent changes in publishing:
- Publishing companies are endangered. Many companies like my own have either already transitioned or are transitioning from being publishing companies to becoming media companies. In 2000, I worked for F&W Publications; now, I work for F + W Media. The company is doing fine, but we've changed the way we do business. This is happening industry-wide with some print-heavy companies even abandoning print completely and offering digital-only products and services.
- Digital readers are selling like hot cakes. Whether it's Wal-Mart carrying iPads or Kindles breaking sales records for Amazon or Nooks dominating Barnes & Noble, digital readers are gaining momentum at the speed of light. And guess what?
- e-Readers and digital books is where the growth is. That's right! A recent survey illustrated that owners of e-Reader devices actually buy more books than the average reader. Anecdotally, I've heard this from many e-Reader owners myself. So it makes sense that digital is the fast approaching future, especially when you consider that...
- Brick and mortar bookstores are having trouble. June reports showed Barnes & Noble with a 51% increase in Web sales and 3% decrease in store sales. Joseph-Beth files for Bankruptcy and has to shutter some stores. Books-A-Million reports a $1.7M third quarter loss this year. Meanwhile, Borders is closing stores in an attempt to stay in business. It's not hard to imagine the extinction of the brick and mortar bookstore.
- Writers need to loosen their grip on a dream of making it into bookstores. Sure, writers should continue trying to write bestsellers and quality manuscripts, but brick and mortar bookstores may not even exist in another 5-10 years, since everything is going digital.
- Writers should be flexible and innovative in how to deliver content. That's right, I called it content. Whether it's nonfiction, fiction, poetry or something completely different, it's still content. And maybe a printed version of it will only serve the author's ego, while not fulfilling the needs of today's audience, who may want it as an iPhone or Droid app, Kindle download, YouTube broadcast, blog post, or any number of other ways.
- Writers who hold onto the old dreams will be very uncomfortable in the near future. If they're not already uncomfortable, they'll soon feel what all the brick and mortar bookstores are feeling: hopelessness and despair in the face of change. Those willing to adapt will have an easier time of things.
- Newer writers need to lead the charge on new technologies. If you don't completely comprehend and understand the new technologies, don't worry; after all, no one else does either. The time is right for experimentation and innovation. And the great thing about this is that it levels the playing field for all writers. Seize the day and make a name for yourself.
- Your potential audience is still hungry for the same things. They still want information, entertainment and engagement. That will never change, whether we're drawing mammoths on cave walls, carving stone tablets or viewing videos on our smartphones.
Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer
Here are a few other posts that may interest you:
- Twitter Cheat Sheet for Writers, in which I give a refresher/intro lesson on using Twitter
- Blogging Tips for Writers, in which I share some tips and encouragement for writers new to blogging
Not free, but worth checking out are: