At least as much as any other industry and perhaps more than most, publishing in the future, like tomorrow, should take a completely different path, thanks to the revolutionary changes wrought by the Internet. We see a day-by-day slippage in the grasp traditional publishing houses in New York formerly enjoyed over the control of printed information disseminated to the masses. Sorry, Mr.Big Shot Editor, but the cork is out of the bottle and the wine is flowing all over the place now.
The publishing houses haven't gone away, to be certain, and likely won't any time soon but with success stories from writers who have drifted outside the machinations of mainstream publishers, Seth Godin and J. A. Konrath are two obvious examples, it's a sure bet that hungry young writers will be following the path of trailblazers like these and dedicating themselves to finding success without a six-figure advance deal.
Here's the crux of the matter. The publishing industry is painfully slow to change and there's a good chance it just might get left behind for good this time. Here's a simple example. While we give them some credit for finally understanding that selling digital versions of published books is a piece of the pie that is getting bigger very quickly, mainstream New York publishers are mostly still looking for their first clue when it comes to pricing, with many titles lingering up near $10 for a Kindle download.
It has been substantially proven by J.A. Konrath's extensive research with his own 19 books, in print and available as ebooks, that the public thinks that $2.99 is the sweet spot when it comes to pricing digital books. Publishers don't seem to understand this and continue to try to force a square peg into a round hole with the mistaken policy of translating a price point from something they're familiar with (paperbacks) to something they don't understand (ebooks).
Publishing today is about quickly anticipating, observing, reacting, and implementing business strategies that match Internet trends. No one blames Big Time publishers for waiting for the Internet to establish itself as a serious long-time player before dipping their toes in the water, but is there anyone out there who seriously thinks the world wide web is a fad?
If you do, we're not sure what to say except, maybe there's a pill you can take for that.
The Speaking of Wealth Team
Flickr / Mark Coggins