Five things learned about publishing
O’Reilly Radar, an emerging technology blog, wrote a post of the five things learned about publishing last year. The first item was this: Amazon is a disruptive publishing competitor. The article sited several items that Amazon has implemented in the last 18 months:
• Expanded tools for self publishers – Providing even more options and opportunities for authors to create, publish and promote their works.
• Their own imprints – Montlake for romance, 47North for science fiction, Thomas & Mercer for mystery were added to AmazonEncore and AmazonCrossing. Amazon also purchased Marshall Cavendish to expand their children’s books beyond Amazon Children’s Books.
• Kindle Owners Lending Library – Speculation is that this innovative program may have caused irreparable damage to the publisher-library relationship as problems were already surfacing between traditional publishers and libraries.
• Kindle Single – Magazines must now compete with Amazon for quality short fiction and non-fiction as Kindle Single opened a market for short pieces. The Kindle Single sales channel may be more lucrative than magazines.
The second thing learned is that publishers aren’t necessary for publishing. No one wants to hear they are no longer needed. Publishers are going to have to re-think and re-tool to remain relevant in the current environment. I believe that the current environment of self-publishing without editing will be short lived in that readers are going to demand a minimum standard for e-books and Amazon will be forced to respond. The process will be evolving, but will eventually build a better inventory of books.
You won’t be surprised by the third thing publishers have learned: Readers sure do like e-books. We can safely say that e-books are not a passing fad. They are here to stay in some form. E-book readers will buy more books as they cannot sell or purchase e-books on a secondary market.
Numbers four and five are about the e-reader technology: HTML5 is important to publishing and DRM (Digital Rights Management) can be a negative too. DRM on Kindle books means that the customer has to have a Kindle or Kindle app to read the book. While that limitation has sold a lot of Kindles, if a competitor did not have those restrictions and sold e-books that could be read on any e-reader device, readers would have options to shop for their books.
Bottom line: There’s been a total shift in the publishing landscape and readers, not just the publishers, are the cause.
 
Three novels – Contemporary Fiction – $2.99 each