Finally, a conference with an upbeat tone about the future of publishing! After years of hearing gloom and doom predictions, I had, quite possibly, the most positive experience ever at a writers convention during this year’s Romance Writers of America conference in Orlando, Florida. Okay, so it was at Walt Disney World, “the happiest place on Earth,” but that wasn’t what made me so jubilant. What brought a smile to my face was hearing so many industry professionals confirm my belief that the future is indeed bright for novelists. The reason? Ebooks!
Many industry pros predict ebooks will have a positive effect on author incomes, they’ll give new life to out of print titles, and they’ll allow novels with a smaller audience — that would be rejected by print publishers — to find their niche market. All of this means more variety for authors and readers.
The Buzz about Ebooks
Ten years ago, the word “ebook” was an annoying buzz most print-published authors tried to tune out. Now — everyone seems to be tuning in. With this conference, the buzz started with the opening, two hour PAN (Published Author Network) session with Lou Aronica, a former publisher with both Avon and Berkley who recently launched a new publishing house, The Story Plant, with agent Peter Miller.
Lou quoted some amazing statistics about the boom in sales for e-reading devices. The price war between Kindle and Nook last May, which dropped the price of both devices to below $200, generated a big boost in sales. Then, last week, Amazon announced a new, smaller Kindle priced even lower, at just $139, which will no doubt cause another rush in sales. After speaking to the B&N sales staff, who were selling the Nook right there at the conference, I predict ereaders will the “it” gift for Christmas this year.
What does that mean for authors? Expect a big spike in demand for ebooks right after Christmas! The more people who own e-readers, the greater the market for ebooks. Basically, folks, we aren’t just approaching the “tipping point” of ebooks being a major player: We’re past it!
The Challenges Ahead
So what’s the downside? Oh, trust me, plenty of the challenges were discussed as well. It’s not all “Zippidy doo da…my, oh my, what a wonderful day.” Basically, you have authors on one end and readers on the other and a big chasm in between. Both sides desperately want to hook up with the other, but so far, we don’t have a way to do that efficiently.
Bridging the chasm between authors and readers will be the focus of future blogs as I and other authors brainstorm the issue. So be sure you subscribe to the RSS Feed, or sign up for my quarterly newsletter.
First though, let’s start with a quick poll:
How many of you have an ereader? If no, are you seriously thinking about getting one? Since you can’t wander the aisle at a brick and mortar store looking for your next good read, how do you learn about which books to buy?