Saturday, August 17, 2013

The End of ePublishing? I Don't Think So

August 17... 229th day of 2013. Azure skies, sun sliding up through the trees. Looks like another gorgeous summer day in store here for the Northland.

It's always interesting to read predictions about the future. People daily cite data and present arguments that project trends. The arguments sound logical and self-evident only to be flatly contradicted by others using other data.

In the course of my own lifetime I've numerous times heard people assert that we're going to run out of oil in ten years. I've been hearing this for more than forty years. The logical conclusion is based on projections regarding future usage alongside assumptions about the finiteness of the oil supply.

The reality is that economics has a say in the matter since acquiring this natural resource does cost money. When the profit potential becomes significant enough, companies invest to find new ways of acquiring it. The playing field changes and all the data that once convincingly showed one outcome has to get shelved. Because the supply is not nearly as depleted as previously surmised.

The debate that interests me this morning, however, has to do with publishing, and specifically ePublishing since I've now brought five eBooks to market via my fledgling partnership with TJ Lind called N&L Publishing. Recent data has revealed that the growth of eBook publishing has slowed. Some have gone so far as to declare this as something alarming. But what's the reality here? 

I reached to my bookshelf (print) and grabbed my copy of How To Lie With Statistics. It's a classic scenario that also fools a lot of investors. A small company gets a big contract and their revenue expands exponentially, let's say 125%, in one year. That's more than double the previous year. Is this a good investment? Well, at that rate, in thirty years the company will be making more money than all the companies on the New York Stock Exchange combined. Problem is, that kind of growth is impossible to sustain because the market for the companies product is not as large as all that.

eBook sales growth has been stellar only because it has been growth that began at zero. The publishing industry (print media) has indeed been shrinking but I've got proof in my hand that it's not going away altogether. I love my book shelf. Even though I have a Kindle and take it with me every time I travel, I still enjoy reading the spines of the books on my shelf and holding a book in my hands.

Alexandra Primiani's article in the New York Daily News titled Rumors of the eBook's Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated is a fun read, especially for ePublishers like myself. Here's an excerpt:

The Christian Science Moniter also shares Hoffelder's opinion, “Even if e-book sales have slowed, the industry has made massive progress: the 457 million e-books sold in 2012 represent a 4,456 percent increase over 2008 when 10 million e-books were sold”. It is important to note that regardless of a percentage decline (that 5% number everyone's been toting around), actual sales have increased, leaving e-book sales well over the sales of paper books.

The very good news for writers in general, and society as a whole, is that people are still reading.

For what it's worth, even though my stories are currently only available as eBooks, I've been working on finding a way to get them into print as well. I will keep you posted. Meanwhile, I invite you to check out my first eBook of short stories... Unremembered Histories Available wherever fine eBooks are read.

Make the most of your day. It looks like it will be oh so beautiful.

1 comment:

Michael Savage said...

Red Scorpian can be had as a traditional trade book if so desired.