I am starting to notice the dedicated eBook reader Kindle displaying a more prominent presence in public and amongst friends and family. The price drop last year to a $139 (when they first came out they were $399) has made the case for the Kindle dedicated e-book reader compelling (I even bought one) and Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey estimates Amazon has sold about 6 million and has two-thirds of the e-reader market.
The American Publishers have just announced that compared to the previous February, sales of eBooks have more than tripled with more e-books selling in February than the whole first quarter of last year, added to this is the iPad App for the Kindle, making it easy to read an eBook even on Apple’s iPad.
Newspapers are being replaced by smart phones and hard cover books are being supplanted by digital hardware that enables reading in a digital medium that challenges long held traditions and book publishing models.
It is early days but authors like Seth Godin with his latest venture with Amazon titled “The Domino Project” are looking long and hard at the future of publishing. Anecdotally I am sensing a market shift that threatens the continuing wide spread distribution of hardcover and paperback books that currently dominate our bookshelves. Will printed books become gifts and souvenirs?
Bricks and Mortar Book Stores Are Closing
“Bricks and Mortars” book stores are suffering and dying with the rise of digital media and the Apple iPad and dedicated eBook readers such as the Kindle are challenging the paradigm of publishing and redefining reading mediums. Publishing is facing business model shifts and disruption that are unparrallled since the invention of the Gutenberg printing press that initially leveraged book distribution and knowledge transfer way beyond the “written word”. The initial long hand book market was ponderous and time consuming as authors had to write every book by hand. Today we have publishing models that are low cost and almost instant. I don’t have to wait for a book to arrive by courier, I just hit “buy” on my Kindle at a cost of $9.99 and the book is here in 30 seconds and the cost of delivery.. almost zero! The alternative is paying $30 and a wait of several days.
The Publishing “Abundance Model”
The market is also no longer just local or national but global and multi-lingual. The opportunities are not based on the scarcity mindset with small local markets, but on the abundance model with almost infinite volume with access to a global market in the billions and zero distribution costs. Authors and bloggers are generating self earned credibility. Distribution channels and platforms on Blogs, Facebook and Twitter and other social media networks offer unprecedented potential to bypass traditional publishers. The ability for followers to easily share your content is now assured with Facebook “likes” and Twitter “retweets” that allow your ideas and content to spread. An author with 100,000 subscribers to their blog, 50,000 followers on Twitter and 20,000 likes on their Facebook “Page” has marketing leverage that bypasses traditional channels.
Authors Earning $1 Million A Year With eBooks
It is rumoured that some authors such as Amanda Hocking are earning a million dollars a year just from her eBooks and Joe Konrath has turned down $500,000 in advances because he can self publish, earn more money and remove publishers and middlemen that add little or no value. eBooks can be much more compact and offer reading that is compatible with today’s snack size appetite and as Seth mentions, “To most people a 100 page book is a gift but a 400 page book is an obligation“. Our time poor society is reducing both out attention spans and our capacity for long reads. How will “Generation Internet” consume books in the future? Could you write a 50 or 100 page eBook on your passion and topic of choice? Is the current publishing model broken? Are we at the frontier of self publishing? There is maybe a global market niche that wants to hear your story. The eBook tipping point has arrived. More Reading