I know, the headline of this blog article seems totally against what you would think. Yes, I have finally achieved some sort of writing and publishing success with my fiction (which has always been my dream) thanks to e-publishing. Yes, I have finally found an audience for my books on Kindle and Nook and Smashwords. That’s all well and good, but the fact remains, I still think the world of standard publishing is necessary and far from dead.
I have several books available in print. I think there are still books that work best in print. These include children’s books, history, true crime and lots of non-fiction. Sure, you can probably see lots of cool colors and pictures on ebooks downloaded to tablets and such, but those of use with standard black-and-white Kindles (and are happy with them) don’t get as much out of the photos in those books.
There is still something magical about walking into a neighborhood bookstore. If you are in Chicago and live near the Lincoln Square neighborhood, you must certainly visit the Book Cellar, right? What a magical place it is, filled with bookshelves almost bursting with words. It’s fantastic!
I also still like going to libraries. Often I go there with my laptop and sit down and work, but being surrounded by all of that knowledge and all of those tomes helps to inspire me.
I think the publishing industry just needs to adapt. They need to think beyond the traditional book and stop seeing the ebook as the enemy. They should not make the mistake the music industry made when MP3s suddenly became popular. The music world overreacted, forcing artists to market their own music, and ultimately fundamentally changing the world of music and music distribution. The music world has yet to fully recover, but artists continue to flourish.
As such, publishers need to embrace ebooks. They need to price themselves carefully and market fairly to both the world of the bookstore and the world of the ebook. They will find, I have found, that fans will exist in both realms. There are even those I have talked to who buy an ebook and then love the book so much they feel they have to own the hard cover version of it.
If the publishing world spends so much time bemoaning their own demise rather than being proactive, they could end up having the same fate as music. The time is to act now. The sheer number of new authors and talent who are now becoming “indie publishers” is staggering. Rather than flee from these people, use what they have learned in the ebook world, adapt and survive.
There’s plenty of room for everyone in the publishing world. And some of us love books no matter what form they come in.