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In a recent blog post, my friend, Brian Kell (aka [info]briankell), wondered if the vast number of books published, self-published and/or e-published these days will hurt the industry.

I’ve seen a lot of (mostly negative) speculation about this. Personally, I don’t think it will make much difference. After all, there are already way too many books available for folks to read in a lifetime. The vast majority of readers buy their books from Wal-Mart, Target, their local grocery store, Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com. They don’t know (and frankly, don’t care) about the hundreds of thousands of other titles available elsewhere, and why should they?

There’s an argument that poor writing/editing quality found in many self-pubbed works will ruin things for those of us lucky enough to have a traditional publisher, as if the experience will somehow put people off reading all together. I don't see why. It would be like sitting through a dreadful movie and deciding you'll never go to the cinema again.

Besides, it’s not like the folks who buy those books are going to buy one less elsewhere as a result. I imagine most people who buy a self-pubbed novel only do so because they know the author in some way (the same probably goes for many traditionally published authors whose work doesn't grace the shelves at the likes of Barnes & Noble).

When I look at the industry as a whole, I really can’t see all these extra publishing options changing things much. Sure, lots of folks now have e-readers, but like their audio counterparts, e-Books are still books. I suspect the sad truth of it is that, regardless of format, most people haven’t even noticed the upsurge in the number of titles available to them.

When I’m browsing the shelves or scanning a website, I’m not thinking about where else I could go to buy a book. I want it find it ‘here’ - whatever the ‘it’ and wherever that ‘here’ may be (even when I don’t know what I’m looking for).

The extra titles available these days make advertising and positive word of mouth more important now than ever before, but they’ve always played a major role in a book’s success or failure, especially to an unknown – and by ‘unknown’ I mean ‘unknown to the potential reader’.

Personally, while getting a traditional print contract is probably harder today than it ever was, I don’t see the publishing industry collapsing any time soon.


How about you?

How do you think the increasing number of published books will affect the industry?



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Comments

musingaloud
Jul. 23rd, 2011 03:15 pm (UTC)
I don't have an e-reader -- yet! I think I'm going to ask for one for my birthday though. Mainly because my oldest got one this last year and he loves it so much that he is reading a TON more books than he ever did before. He now reads on his lunch hour at work and in bits and spurts. And I think the quick availability of getting something new to read works well, too. Just think, if you need a new book, instead of waiting to go to the local bookstore or ordering online and waiting to get it, you just pick up your e-reader and presto! you have it. Impulse buying must be huge with an e-reader, I would imagine. And this is my son who did read some as a child and growing up, but he's not the one I consider my "reader" child. So go figure. An e-reader has turned hin into a big reader.
jongibbs
Jul. 23rd, 2011 03:30 pm (UTC)
Anything which makes people read more is a good thing in my book, if you'll pardon the pun :)
msstacy13
Jul. 23rd, 2011 03:35 pm (UTC)
Especially if it gets them reading your book.
:)

Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there


No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there















 











THE MEAGER PUDDLE OF LIMELIGHT AWARDS


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