Between Apple and Amazon they have changed the way that we read and write, buy and sell, own and lend, relax and motivate, communicate and learn; and whose to say that in the future they won’t change the way that we eat and go to the toilet.
The continuous speculation for what the future of publishing will look like rages on, but the debate will never stop… because the future of publishing has already changed. It’s already here, and anyone can see that. Why are people still asking the question; is it worth self-publishing?
Apple and Amazon have changed reading habits forever. People now read more often; they read shorter and quicker bits of information; they can access anything, at any time, anywhere; the customer is now the purveyor of quality not some archaic, dusty, pretentious middleman.
Printed books, bookstores, tangible things, are beautiful and any lover of reading will appreciate that, but so would a music lover about vinyl. Change happens and convenience, quality, immediacy, and value will always win eventually.
There is a place for everything in the market, however traditionalists have to expect that the current trend will continue and more of these outlets will struggle to survive. There cannot be any other outcome. Whatever the reaction will be from the traditional publishers, it will be too little too late. Habits have changed for the better, and these institutions are not set up to capitalise on them.
Power in the Hands of a Few
Throughout history we tend to get in to problems when the power is wielded by a few people at the top. You hear people accuse companies, like Apple and Amazon, of this but I can’t see it that way. What about the “Big 6” traditional publishers that have acted as guardians to the gateway of books for so long? Was this not power truly wielded by a few hands around a table somewhere in New York?
We, as writers, now have an opportunity to publish our work as we choose; we can make it look exactly as we want; we can price it as we feel it demands; we can promote it as much or as little as we want; and for all of this creative freedom we actually get paid more in royalties at the end of it. Of course we have to play by the rules of the tools, but that’s not unreasonable, and as the competition increases for the two A’s the deal should only get better.
The market will now begin to reflect a true, unfiltered scale of quality. Good books will rise to the top because they will be shared more, discussed more and entertain more than their inferior rivals. Apple and Amazon have created this perfect market, amongst others of course, and that is the future.
People still discussing the ‘what if’s’ are the same people that didn’t want to put their card details on to the Internet fifteen years ago. This is the future, it’s happening, it will only get better and more refined… so fill your boots.
Do you still know of anyone that thinks any different?