The prospects for an explosion in the ebook market are growing every day. Once traditional publishers realize the ebook-only market is a huge opportunity, they will embrace it and they will realize that they had a pot of gold right in front of them all the time.
Current Publishing – Are things panning out with ebooks?
Traditional book publishing is built on speculation and profit predictions. They control the system and the popular authors. They have been sitting at the end of the rainbow for a very long time.
Then along comes this ebook thing with a slick delivery system and their way of life is being threatened. The old guard is holding everything back, trying to protect their investment. They know one way and that way has been successful. Even though no one is admitting it, they have to see the additional income reaching their bottom line.
They realize ebooks do solve some of the traditional book problems. Ebooks have an unlimited shelf life. They are convenient to purchase and to read. There is no physical warehousing or distribution unless you want to count an unmanned server disbursing the ebook and collecting the money. There are no page number or book size limits, etc.
And there is the fading bookstore distribution channel problem which is a major part of their system. They must resolve this to be able to reach out to their customers.
They do have a stable of authors but the authors still have to pass the test of being published in hardcover first. And they are leaving the marketing up to the author unless they are a superstar to cut back on costs.
So how do they strike gold?
Why do traditional publishers have a golden opportunity? They have most of the good players – you know the well know authors, the cover designers, editors, illustrators, layout staff, story/genre experts, marketing, etc. and there is a huge potential in their backlists inventories.
What do they need to do to dig into this opportunity?
1. Rejections become products. They have a built-in process of prospecting and evaluating already in place. For example, if they just take the top ten percent of their rejections and move them directly to ebooks, like the movies do with their direct to video releases, the potential is huge.
2. A big question for them is “Where will the next wave of super authors come from?” They need to setup a farm system of potential super authors? For a relatively low cost, they can try out authors and their titles through ebook offerings and then move them up-stream if they are successful.
3. Establish a new author category in a genre specific area. If the ebook/author becomes successful, move them to paper. Work the traditional system in reverse.
4. Work with bookstores to become more than just a shelf of books. If the traditionals don’t try to protect this channel, everyone will go on-line to purchase their books. That in turn directs the reader right into the lap of their competition.
5. Once they get over just producing a digital copy of the original and start looking at rendered and enhanced ebooks, the more profit potential they’ll realize. The reader’s prospective is changing rapidly with color, the tablet market and the software advances like pub3.
6. They must look at the royalty structure to be competitive with the on-line publishers/retailers.
Looking down stream
So the question is “Do traditional publishers keep damming the river or do they look down stream for the gold?”
The current stream of events should put most of the gold in their pile. They have the experts, the superstars and the inventory of unpublished material. There is indeed a high profit potential for the ebook-only market but they will have to change their ways and adapt.
There are some lessons for the self-publisher in this rainbow. If you create good content and are successful marketing, you have the keys to being recognized by traditional publishers. These publishers must make a move to protect their interests and the ebook author must be ready.
Do you think that traditional publishers will change their system and adopt real ebooks? Will they ever give the self-publishers/ebook authors a chance to break into the system?
Surefire Book Publishing Interview
Prospector image via Wikipedia
About James Moushon
I am a published writer in the electronic document field. Starting over 15 years ago, I helped lead the startup of the electronic forms industry in the creation, conversion and usage of electronic forms by supplying that industry with a continuing source of published literature, software products and training seminars. I worked with over 200 companies and organizations like the IRS, Commerce Clearing House, Nutrilite, UPS, MGM, Sony International and Royal Paper Box with their conversion from paper forms to electronic forms. In 2003 I changed my focus to ebooks and their development. I commented in a recent interview: “The start of the ebook industry as a major publishing method in many ways parallels the start of the acceptance of electronic forms by businesses in the mid 1990’s. Back then major companies controlled the process but with the advent of inexpensive technology (laser printers), the ease of entry and the development of software to drive these devices, the electronic forms industry was formed. Today the ebook reader and new software are driving the startup of the ebook industry.”