There has been a revolution in the publishing industry and there is no going back. Mainstream publishers are having to change their ways and copy the new mavericks on the block.
This revolution was brought about by the arrival of eBooks and to a lesser extent by ‘print-on-demand’. Certainly Amazon had much to do with the growth but they weren’t the only ones. The old publishing companies, and it must be said many booksellers, were caught cold and unready.
For both published and aspiring authors this has opened up a realm of new possibilities, but it does have a downside as well. The downside is that it’s much harder to get a mainstream publishing contract for new authors while at the same time it’s harder for an already published author to get his contract renewed. The long term prognosis for the established publishers isn’t that good either. It looks like many of them will be unable to compete in the new marketplace and will not be with us in the future.
Let’s look at the upside now. For the already published author his back list is now his to turn into digital editions. (Most of the old publishing contracts didn’t include eBooks. Of course today it’s a different story.) The percentage of the sale price earned using the digital book rights put the printed book royalties offered by the established publishers to shame.
For new authors a whole new ballgame is available. The eBook and ‘print-on-demand’ revolution has given authors so many more options. I will not bore you with statistics on how many eBooks are sold as opposed to hard covers and paperbacks, not least because the numbers are changing so rapidly, but suffice to say that the numbers show a massive increase in digital book sales.