The Naked Truth about Book Publishing
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by Linda Houle
Description: Like the legendary Phoenix--with a cycle of death in flames, then rebirth--books, and publishing, are undergoing a major metamorphosis. The Naked Truth about Book Publishing takes a quick and dirty peek at the realities of publishing. Whether you are an author, independent publisher, or just an avid reader, it's critical to know what's happening and how current changes affect you! Ebooks are now widely accepted, displacing print book sales and transforming a multi-billion dollar industry. Bookstores are fighting for survival. They're either struggling to adapt, or going out of business. Publishing giants are developing new business models to stay afloat. For decades they've counted on a few top name authors' best-selling hardcover titles to support the rest of their books. Old wasteful printing methods are fading away, and nearly all paper books of the future will be made to order. Stores that still carry books will only stock the best-selling titles--the sales publishers still count on. Want to browse a bookstore and discover something new to read? In the future you'll use an electronic catalog at a store kiosk--or search for interesting titles on-line. If you're a writer you must pay attention to what's happening in the world of book publishing. The classic, though challenging method of finding an agent to shop a book to a top publisher is no longer the best choice for many authors. In a shrinking market, many agents are already looking for other jobs. Small, independent presses are growing in popularity. Many use a traditional business model, then work hand in hand with authors to develop and promote their books. Other choices include DIY companies--to get a book into print for a fee. And a growing number of people do everything themselves. Setting up their own businesses and self-publishing their manuscripts. Some by-pass print altogether. Ebook publishing is fast and easy and now open to everyone! A few top-name authors are leaving their big publishers and bringing their ebooks directly to readers. Read the Naked Truth about Book Publishing to help set goals and make the best choice for your manuscript. The resources and links provide nearly everything you'll need to get your book into print or epublished, and into readers' hands!
eBook Publisher: L&L Dreamspell/Wisdom Trends, 2010 Spring, Texas
Filament eBookStore Release Date: April 2010
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [181 KB]
Reading time: 101-141 min.
All Other formats: Printing DISABLED, Read-aloud DISABLED
Like the legendary Phoenix--with a cycle of death in flames, then rebirth--books, and publishing, are undergoing a major metamorphosis.
Die-hard bibliophiles needn't panic! Paper books won't disappear any time soon. But electronic books are growing in popularity and the very definition of the word "book" is changing from sheets of paper bound together to now include stored data that becomes an ebook
At some point during their creation all books are electronic files, eventually sent to a printer to create the finished product. Now the same files are converted into ebooks. Publishers are expanding and adapting their business models to include a full range of print and electronic formats. Another growing trend is the use of Print On Demand, POD for short--printing paperback books only as they are ordered, using digital equipment. A quality product can be created and shipped almost the same day to stores and customers. And for truly instant books the Espresso Book Machine--an all-in-one digital book printing unit--has arrived on the scene. They're appearing in new locations all the time, with access to hundreds of thousands of electronic files. A customer can purchase a paperback and watch it being printed and bound then delivered into their hands in minutes!
Large publishers still prefer to use offset printing to produce hundreds of thousands of their potential best sellers, at the lowest cost per book. You've seen the huge bulk displays in large chain bookstores. What you may not know is that a growing number of their backlist titles are often printed digitally and distributed via the "on demand" channel. It doesn't make sense to take up warehouse space for books that are at the end of their "shelf life" and only selling in the hundreds of copies, rather than the thousands. Nearly all small presses and author-publishers use POD--print on demand--exclusively. This inventory-free trend is better for the environment, with fewer books printed on spec, stored in warehouses and trucked back and forth. Fewer books equal fewer returns to end up remaindered or pulped. As a side benefit, a book can stay in print indefinitely!
As books and reading morph into a new model for the 21st century, large publishers are emulating small presses. Ebooks and related products are the driving force. Indie publishers who began with an "ebook only" business model were pioneers on the forefront of the ebook revolution. They helped establish sales channels. These companies are still "doing it right" with affordable prices--and they have a devoted reader following. Some observers think the publishing giants pretended ebooks would never catch on until the very last minute. Now the power publishers are securing the electronic rights to existing and backlist titles and finally getting with the program!
Technology drives change in all aspects of life. Think about how we listened to music forty years ago. Vinyl records. Now most of our music is in electronic files. Movies have gone from theaters to VHS/DVDs to delivery right onto our computers. Reading used to mean picking up a hardcover book or a mass market paperback and thumbing through paper pages. Now we access books as electronic files--via instant downloads. The pattern of reinventing the way we share entertainment and information has spread into all areas of publishing, not just books but also newspapers and magazines. Consumers enjoy the benefits of progress with convenience and lower prices.
With more book titles and other products available electronically, the race is on to create new and better reading devices, from dedicated gadgets to multi-use tablet style computers. Instead of carrying heavy books we can have our entire library in a purse or pocket. Some publishers are going beyond mere words to include interactive links and video clips in new hybrid creations--designed to suit each new assortment of gizmos. It's a great idea for children's books. This multi-media style may also be the future of electronic textbooks--tailored to suit teachers' and students' needs. Updates to textbook efiles are easy compared to costly reprints done overseas. As more textbooks go electronic, students won't have to lug around fifty pound backpacks anymore. The "book" of the future will be many things--limited only by our imagination!
Now that we've moved past a crucial tipping point in the transition from paper to electronic, authors have more publishing options than ever before. The classic and difficult method of finding an agent to shop a book to a big New York publisher used to be an author's only choice. Now they may decide to submit their manuscript to a small, independent press. Another choice is author-publishing--my own term for self-publishing--when an author handles everything. It's the most challenging option but growing in popularity. Authors can even test the market by publishing an ebook first. No matter which path an author selects, it's critical to understand what happens from the time a novel or non-fiction book is written until it's published.
A manuscript often takes months or even years to write. If you have to spend a few more years finding an agent to get a traditional contract you may regret not going ahead and publishing the book on your own. Just because the do-it-yourself route is faster doesn't mean you should rush your project either. The wrong publishing choice can lead to endless frustration. With so much industry wide change, knowledge is power. Authors must evaluate their goals to help them choose. No matter how your manuscript ends up as a print or ebook, a little research and planning can go a long way toward success!
The Naked Truth about Book Publishing takes a quick and dirty peek at print and ebook publishing. Things are changing literally every day as I write this. It's vital to pay attention--read and research then read some more before you jump into this crazy business. Sometimes the difference between success and failure depends solely on an author's expectations, and in one chapter I use a tongue-in-cheek example to make my point. If you expect a traditional book deal to bring instant fame and fortune you're going to be disappointed. And if you expect to self-publish a gorgeous book without taking your time to learn how to do it right, you are going to be even more disappointed.
Describing the realities of book publishing using a sardonic slant is not intended to discourage authors and indie publishers. On the contrary, just like the Phoenix, we can all emerge from the smoldering ash pile smarter and stronger and ready for success in the brave new world of publishing!