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Monday, August 8, 2011

The Sea Change in Publishing

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First there were the big-box bookstores that practically shut down the independents. Around the same time used bookstores (UBS) came about, making certain that UBS owners made money on resales, but authors and publishers earned nothing.

While authors were still adjusting to those changes, along came the online bookstores (think Barnesandnoble.com, Amazon, Books-a-Million) and the mom-and-pop bookstores (think "The Little Shop Around the Corner") virtually disappeared.

Then e-books, Kindle and Nook showed up (along with Rocketbook and a dozen other lesser known reading platforms) and -- what's a writer to do?It's anybody's guess!

An author friend recently issued her opinion in an article titled, "An Author Without a Publisher is Like a Fish Without a Bicycle." Um-hm. That's a good image. And it may soon be the truth.

Out there ... somewhere, you can find almost anything, including reading material of any and every kind. What does this mean to authors? The ones I know are still figuring it out.

I like the old pattern: a publisher believes in your book, takes the financial risks to publish and promote it, and you (the author) sit in your home or your office writing more books while the royalties on the first book build.

That model of publishing, which lasted for centuries, now seems to have gone the way of the Dodo bird. Those of us who write can either learn to adapt to the new wave in publishing and ride it to the shore or we can become just as extinct.

I think I'll learn to surf, thanks. Join me?

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