April 19, 2010

The winds of eChange

          Until recently, I hadn't paid much attention to the inner workings of the publishing world. Now that I am trying to become a published author, I have been immersing myself in the industry as much as I can (as an outsider). I've put myself through a crash course of sorts. Conducted a lot of research. Followed a number of industry blogs. Joined writing groups. My goal is to soak up as much information as possible. If I do manage to break in to the business, I want to be informed. It is a critical step to success in any business.
          One thing that is interesting to me is the current uproar over ePublishing. Self-publishing has grown steadily in popularity (and I jumped on that bandwagon with my first book). There are countless resources and "how to" guides available. Print on Demand (POD) technology has opened the world of publishing to many writers formally shut out of the process. But it wasn't until the major players got in to the eBook business that the winds of change really began to blow. First Amazon had the Kindle. Now Apple has the iPad. To say that the powers that be in the publishing industry have not embraced this change would be an understatement. They have been downright hostile. 
          Much has been written about the struggle between the producers of these devices and the publishing giants (some call it the e-pocalypse). And the end result remains to be seen. One thing is certain. The business of books is evolving, and that can be a painful process. How will it all turn out? Nobody has that elusive crystal ball. We will all have to stay tuned...
          Throughout the years people have predicted that computers and technology would replace a number of things. These forecasts have never fully come true. But there is no denying the significant impact technology has had on our lives.
          Change happens, whether we want it to or not. We can't stop it. And I have found over the years that there are several ways people respond to it. First, there are the people who affect change (the forward thinkers, if you will). Then there are those who see change coming and try to get ahead of it (or at least jump on board before it takes off). There are the people who understand change is necessary but wait to see how it will work out before they jump on the bandwagon. And finally, those who fight it with everything they have.
          In general, I believe I am someone who accepts change and adjusts fairly well. I would not classify myself as a forward thinker. Nor am I normally one of the first to try something. But I rarely fight change. On the subject of eBooks, however, I am just not sold. I love to hold a book in my hands, turn the pages, smell the paper. Keep the book on a shelf when I am finished. The idea of reading a book on a screen simply does not appeal to me. I haven't tried it, so I can't knock it per se. But I am not that interested in trying it. (My husband, however, is a gadget guy and an Apple addict. It is only a matter of time before an iPad makes its way into our home. So I guess I will give it a try and see what I think.)
          Which type of person are you? How do you respond to change? And what are your thoughts on the evolution of publishing? This inquiring mind wants to know.


  1. Medium doesn't matter to much to me. I am more interested in the subject matter within.

  2. NO eBoo!k It just doesn't seem right to me. I like to physically hold a book and turn the pages, give them to others to read etc.

  3. Not eBook. Paperback for novels, quickly consumed material. Hardback for things I use more as a resource or classics that I want to hand down to grandkids someday in the far distant future.

  4. eBooks are a slow change, and currently a very tiny % of overall sales. But the "mindshare" is growing as the people who write news for a living have taken an interest. It's thought that Amazon has sold a few million Kindles, and Barnes & Noble now has the Nook. Then of course there's the iPad. One big thing coming is that the new iPhone/iPod touch software coming this summer supports iBooks and the iBook store like the iPad. There's about 85 million potential new customers. While those of us over 40 don't want to strain our eyes reading a book on a phone, the younger generation with better vision (no pun intended) will.
    10 years ago there was no iPod, no iTunes, no iTunes store or Amazon MP3 downloads. If you wanted music, you bought a CD. If you wanted to buy one song, then you were SOL. If any record company executive saw what was coming, they would have created their own online stores instead of ceding 90% of the market to Apple. Books are inherently different than music since you've always needed a device of some kind to play recorded music. Paper books will probably still be printed 100 years from now, but change is coming.

  5. That is a good analogy! Thanks for sharing.


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