Where is Publishing Headed?

Ever wonder where publishing is headed in this ever-changing paperback vs. e-book world?


I have to say, as an indie author, John B. Thompson’s article, in the Huffington Post, gave me hope. Sure, things might be getting harder for the publishing houses, but they are also leveling the playing field of book marketing for those of us indie authors. On a day-to-day basis, we are fighting through the weeds, trying to figure out how to get our names out there. We’re attempting to find new and innovative ways to get our books in front of readers.

By the time the publishing houses figure out that they also need to focus more on the online social media platforms, maybe some of us indie authors will have a small advantage. Having worked for years, build our online communities or readers and other authors, we indie authors are developing a strong network. No, I might never be the next Stephen King (Oh but I wish I was), or the next J.K. Rowling (wouldn’t that be amazing), but that doesn’t mean as an indie author I can’t still make my place in the literary world.

[The section below is provided as an excerpt from Thompson’s article. Check out the full article here, written by John B. Thompson on the Huffington Post.]

Today, the publishing business is in turmoil. For 500 years, the methods and practices of book publishing remained largely unchanged, but today the industry finds itself faced with the greatest challenges since Gutenberg.

These challenges are the outcome of two processes. On the one hand, the publishing business has been transformed beyond recognition by a set of profound social and economic changes that have been underway since the 1960s, resulting in the publishing landscape we see around us today: a handful of large corporate publishers based in New York and London and owned by large multimedia conglomerates; an array of powerful agents who have become the unavoidable gateway into publishing for writers and would-be writers; and a retail landscape dominated by a dwindling number of retail chains, mass merchandisers and Amazon.

On the other hand, the technological upheaval associated with the digital revolution is now having a major impact on the book publishing business. After a decade of numerous false dawns, e-books have now arrived and they are here to stay. In 2006, e-book sales amounted to only around 0.1 percent of the overall revenue of large US trade publishers – an accounting irrelevance. Today this figure is around 20 percent, and for some kinds of books, like romance, science fiction and thrillers, the percentage can be 60 percent or more – a huge change in five years. The digital revolution is disrupting many of the traditional practices of the publishing industry, opening up new opportunities and at the same time threatening to dislodge some of the players who have shaped the business of book publishing for half a century or more.

So where is book publishing now headed? Will the traditional print-on-paper book become a relic of a bygone age, a collector’s item to be found only in second-hand bookstores and garage sales, much like the old vinyl LP? Will publishers – and perhaps agents too – be displaced by a flourishing of self-publishing and by powerful online retailers like Amazon who can offer to publish writers’ work on royalty terms that are much more favorable than those traditionally offered by publishing houses?

[The section above is provided as an excerpt. Check out the full article here, written by John B. Thompson on the Huffington Post.]

So, if you’re an author (traditionally published or indie) I would love to know your thoughts on this topic. Leave your comments below and let’s start a conversation on the future of the publishing world.

2 thoughts on “Where is Publishing Headed?

  1. Amazon has, forever, democracies publishing and made the legacy publishers (the “trads”) less relevant. If you have a brand, like Barry Eisler or Joe Konrath, you can earn a whole lot more self-publishing (as an “Indie”). If you are trying on your own to build you brand, it will be expensive to do it right. I used to work with venture capitalists, and watched them invest for several years, burning cash to seed a market. The process works for books just as

    It’s been just over a year since The Swiftshadow Group, Inc. released Bloodridge, the first book in my Spies Lie series of technothrillers. I’ve since released the next four in the series and am finishing book six. Each one is masterfully produced. Cover art by Jeroen Ten Berge, copyediting by Karl Yambert, the project overseen by Sandra Beris. My marketing director, Rebecca Berus, has turned all five into Amazon Bestsellers. In June, Bloodridge sold almost 7,400 copies over a three day promo. This month (July), DeathByte has sold nearly 7,000 in the first two days of a three-day promo.

    It has never been more exciting to be a writer.

    Liked by 1 person

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