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Ebooks and Discounts Drive 98 Publishers Out of Business

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Philip Overby, Nov 29, 2013.

  1. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    Ebooks and discounts drive 98 publishers out of business | Books | theguardian.com

    I saw this article online. I guess it's not really major news as it seems like these kind of things happen more and more. I'm kind of concerned that there may be a future where trad publishing doesn't exist at all. I know some people think this would be a good thing in some ways, but if trad publishing goes, so do book stores and probably a vast majority of print books.

    I do find benefits of ebooks myself and I haven't bought a brand new print book in quite sometime (I bought Hunger Games used not long ago). Publishers are going to have to figure out how to compete with Amazon and soon.

    I hate to think of all the people who are losing their jobs. But I hope the publishing industry can figure out a way to both make things a level playing field for writers and readers.
  2. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    I can see the publishing industry going the way the music industry may be going, with many more self funded projects.
    There are [to my knowledge] several bands and even record labels that all but give their music away [nominal fees or pay-what-you-want] but use that interest to drum up vinyl sales in a kickstarter sort of way.
    If we raise X you will get the album on vinyl.
    If we raise X+ you will get the album on vinyl in a gatefold printed sleeve.
    If we raise X++ you will get the double album on vinyl in a limited edition gatefold printed sleeve.
    If we raise X+++ you will get the double album on vinyl in a limited edition gatefold printed sleeve personally signed by the band...

    For writers/publishers I think the epub will be the product but the profits will come from the leather bound, gold embossed, limited edition hardback [personalised message available at no added cost].
    I think we are headed for a boutique world of small publishers, solo operators and niche products.
  3. C Hollis

    C Hollis Troubadour

    In my opinion, we have been going through a readjustment period, and in the end electronic and traditional will coexist.
    There is a lot of finger pointing, but the bottom line is the vast majority of traditional publishers have either failed to adjust to the technology or been too slow about doing it.

    Just look back over the last few years when publishers were asking the same $$ for the print and the electronic book. Customers saw this as BS and spoke with their wallets. Now, if you peruse B&N or the evil empire of Amazon, you will find publishers are beginning to price the e-books less than the hard copy, albeit some publishers still think 20 cents is a fair markdown...

    You still find self-pubbed writers getting lured in by traditional publishing, which tells me traditional still has relevance. I mean, there aren't too many of us out there that don't dream of walking down the aisles of a brick and mortar and seeing our books on the shelf.

    For myself, I love my Kindle. I go to the lake and take six titles I haven't read. I throw em into my lunchbox on the way to work and not worry about damaging the jackets.

    However, I still want that trophy on the bookshelf behind my desk. Screw the trees, it's all about me!

    Bring me more publishers who will sell me the package of hard copy and e-copy. I think too many publishers have been trying to figure out how to compete with Amazon, when they should be finding ways to use Amazon to their advantage.
  4. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    The only retail company in the US that effectively competes with Amazon is Walmart. When Amazon slashes prices, that discount comes out of Amazon's share, which they can afford because they have no overhead and a weird business world. When Walmart slashes prices, it's usually the manufacturer that takes the hit, because Walmart buys enough volume to negotiate for lower prices. Most other retail stores survive on convenience, clothing, groceries, and impulse sales.

    Book stores are going away, but print books are going to survive as long as they can be sold on impulse. The printing isn't really a factor, so much as the number of books you can fit on a much smaller shelf.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2013
  5. GeekDavid

    GeekDavid Auror


    Originally they dug in their heels and tried the illegal "Agency Pricing" model, then when the DOJ complained about that they've been at a loss about how to proceed when they can't engage in monopolistic price-fixing schemes with Apple anymore.
  6. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

    I was never big into buying a book, I read the book, I'm done, I almost never reread a book. So why buy it?
    Ebooks are much better, you pay for words not much art, no physical material, no shelf needed to store it until it gets thrown away or donated to a book store.

    I do believe printed books will be around for sometime, but more and more people are going ebook.

    If the print publishers don't invest in "E" they will be unable to meet payroll in the not to distant future. The business is switching to electronic books, no shelf space for product to sell, endless copies can be produced with little cost, it can be stored with little cost.
    I believe the only time I carried alot of books was when I played AD&D in school, the book count was 6(?), I currently have at least 12 books in my ereader and it weighs less then one D&D book. (Yes, I carried D&D books everywhere, I carried only the most necessary school book, if I even bothered. Priorities....:) )
  7. psychotick

    psychotick Auror


    Look the big publishers could compete if they wanted to. The fact that they don't seem to be suggests that they're happy enough at the moment cherry picking a few authors that they can promote the hell out of and sell en mass. I expect this model to change over time.

    My guess is that the new trade publishing model will involve much more volume of books - i.e. more authors and more works by them - quicker turn around so more gets published, leading their sales with ebooks and following with print if sales look good, and marketing accordingly. I'd also guess they're going more and more to be hunting out of the ranks of indies for their authors and less looking at submissions from complete unknowns. It just makes better business sense to pick someone who you can see can write a good book and gets a little bit of a rep by himself than to begin with a nobody. Especially if you can edit and book cover and market and take a modest success and make it a big one.

    As for book stores they may have to start looking elsewhere for stock - such as the POD's but their days will diminish as ebooks take control. Texts, and other non fiction still do better in paper though.

    Cheers, Greg.
  8. I saw that article a while back.

    What that article DOESN'T mention is the THOUSANDS of new publishing companies that have been formed.

    So yes, some old companies which refused to adapt died. And others will, too.

    In their place is a vibrant and growing culture of new businesses - ranging in size from one person who writes and publishes everything, to companies with dozens of employees. And there are THOUSANDS of these new businesses today.

    It's awesome. It's amazing. It's a wonderful time to be in this industry.

    Enjoy it.

    And don't let the people crying about the loss of yesterday get you down. :)

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