Books aren’t dead yet an article by Laura Miller for Salon claims that self-publishing and ebook promoters keep getting it wrong. It sounds counter intuitive given the tremendous growth of the ebook market but Ms. Miller makes the case that authors want to be in print and have access to that time honored distributor of books, the bookstore. She points to the recent deal that Simon & Schuster signed with Hugh Howey for the print-only rights to his popular Sci-Fi series “Wool”. It seems that Mr. Howey wants access to the 75% of the market that still buys print books and Simon & Schuster thinks that it can make plenty of money publishing print versions of Mr. Howey’s novels.
Not only is the market for print still there, contrary to what you may have been hearing, bookstores are not on life support. They are still a key component in the distribution chain. Maybe the big box stores like Barnes and Noble are in trouble but as Ms. Miller points out “independent bookstores, are enjoying a “quiet resurgence.” Sales are up this year; established stores, such as Brooklyn’s WORD, are doing well enough to expand and new stores are opening.”
In short, one could make the case that the self-publishing ebook market is serving as “a farm system” for established print publishers who are starting to sign proven authors who have already shown an ability to garner readers. And on top of that the authors seem to welcome it. It is opening up a new market for their works along with access to bookstores where a lot of readers still go to be introduced to new authors. (Libraries should also benefit from this development.)
However, you need to get the full story so click on the above link and check out Ms. Miller’s article. She tells the story a lot better than we do.
Tom is originally from Brooklyn N.Y but has spent his entire professional career in South Carolina, most recently as Head of Reference Services at the College of Charleston. As part of the Against the Grain and Charleston Conference team, he serves as the associate editor of the print ATG as well as the co-editor of the webpage. Tom’s conference duties include coordinating the Penthouse Suite interviews as well as the conference poster sessions.
He received his MLS from the University of Buffalo, SUNY and a second master’s in public administration from the College of Charleston and the Univ. of South Carolina. His wife Carol and he live in downtown Charleston and she is an artist and a tour guide offering historic walking tours of the city.