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New Plan for the Publishing Industry...
There has been a lot of moaning by publishers and big bookstore chains about how e-books and Amazon are threatening to put them out of business. E-books are outselling hardcopy books, Amazon is undercutting prices, e-books sell for less, so the profit to the publisher--oh, yeah, and some other guy...Oh! Right, the author-- is lower.
Doom and despondency all around.
What I'm not hearing at all is whether total book sales, e-books included, are up or down. Paperbacks are down, yes. And despite the hand wringing, that doesn't mean a damn thing. CD sales are down as well, but people still buy new music. Eight track sales may never recover.
If the publishing industry as a whole is selling more books, whether through Amazon, Apple, brick and mortar or whatever, that is a net boon to writers. The potential audience is growing. People who live out in the sticks, people in countries where their native tongue isn't the standard, all can now get any book any time, via online e-book sales. This is a Good Thing.
And Amazon isn't piracy. People pay for the e-books. So the author gets something, and with the longer reach of online sales, the author should get a piece of greater overall potential sales.
E-books should not cost the same as print. Yes, the author worked just as hard on it. So did the editor. But there are savings in production, shipping, storage and returns. This is truth. And an e-book is less valuable to the consumer, since it's harder to lend, you can't sell it at a yard sale or donate it to the local library when you finish it. If an e-book is $10 I will stick to print. And I will buy half as many books as if I can get a $4.99 e-book.
Maybe the publishing industry should try to sell more books, encourage more reading among the next generation (say what you like but the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series have done all writers a great service by introducing recreational reading to more young people) than trying to ensure they get the same cut they always have.
They need to stop rhapsodizing the longbow and crying when the enemy brings a machine gun to the field.
Amazon sells a boatload of books. Let's encourage the selling of a boatload of books.
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